Gujarati Dal


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Cook time: 

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Serves: 4

  • ¾ cup oily or unoily toover dal (split pigeon peas), uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Small (golf ball size) piece of jaggary or 3 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dhana-jeeru (spice blend of coriander and cumin powder)
  • 1 teaspoon or to taste finely chopped or minced jalapeno or serrano chili
  • ½ teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, for garnish
For Tempering (Vaghar):
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ⅛ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ⅛ teaspoon asafetida
  • 5 to 6 curry leaves
  • 1 whole dry red chili (optional)
  • Pinch of red chili powder (optional)
  1. Wash split pigeon peas few times. For oily dal make sure all the oil is washed off. Soak in about 1 ½ cups of water for 1 to 2 hours or until peas are soft in a medium size soup pot. (Soaking is optional).
  2. Add diced tomato. Cover with a lid and cook it with water on a medium heat until peas are very soft, about one hour. Dal can also be cooked in a pressure cooker, according to manufacturer’s direction.
  3. Once the dal is cooked, take off the heat and add ½ cup of water and mix it with a whisk or an immersion blender until it has a consistency of slightly thick soup. Start heating the dal on medium heat. Add salt, jaggary, turmeric, dhana-jeeru, green chili and ginger. Stir dal and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes on low heat or a simmer burner.
  4. In a separate small heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat oil on medium high heat until shimmering. Add fenugreek seeds and let them sizzle. Lower the heat, add mustard and cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add asafetida, curry leaves, red chili and chili powder. Pour oil with everything over dal. Mix it with dal, add lemon juice and let it simmer for two to three minutes. Garnish with cilantro before serving. Serve warm along with meal of Indian flat bread and vegetable, and over rice.
You can follow this same recipe for whole and split mung beans, split lentils and black-eyed peas mix with split pigeon peas. Do not use mustard and fenugreek seeds, instead, use only 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds.