Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What a Dal....

You may be asking what dal even is!  Dal comes from the Sanskrit word to split.  Indians use the word dal to refer to dozens of varieties of dried split peas, beans, lentils and other pulses (meaning the dried seed of legumes such as lentils, beans and peas). Dal is the name of spicy, aromatic side dishes made with curry, onions, tomatoes and seasonings which are generally eaten with rice or bread and a dairy like yogurt to provide non-meat protein.  Dal is an everyday dish in India. Indian Masoor dal is made with salmon-colored, round, delicately flavored split lentils that turn a mellow shade of yellow when cooked. Moong dal (or mung daal) is a hulled, split version of the mung bean that is used to make bean sprouts and is very popular in North India. Chana dal is similar to split yellow peas, but has a sweeter, meatier taste, and can be found in Indian and Pakistani markets. Dal can also be soaked and ground to make the fritters or pancakes called dosas.

Last nights dinner was a really yummy Sweet Potato Dal with baby spinach thrown in for good measure.  I've included the recipe and picture.  I wish I had added a bit more liquid as my dal was SUPER thick.  I added more garam masala too, only because it is a flavor I adore!

Sweet Potato Dal...

  • 1 small sweet potato, skinned and diced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, split
  • 4 cups spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
What to do...Line a medium pot with a think layer of water and saute onion and garlic.  Add red pepper flakes and cook until all water is evaporated.  Add turmeric, garam masala and stir to coat.  Add broth and lentils and bring to a boil.  Once boiling reduce to low, cover and simmer for a few minutes.  Add sweet potatoes, bring back to a boil and then reduce heat again, cover and allow to simmer until lentils are fully cooked and potatoes are tender.  Add spinach and stir until spinach wilts and softens.  Mix into dal and flavor with salt and pepper.  Serve with rice if desired. 

I love how brightly colored this dish is, it's very fall like don't ya think?  It makes me want to carve a pumpkin and roast some seeds!

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