Not-so-dull Dal

Serves 6


3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 dried red chiles
Pinch asafetida (optional)
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 jalapeño (cored and seeded to make more mild), finely chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1½ cups washed masoor dal or yellow split peas (channa dal)
6 cups water
Juice of ½ lemon


Heat the oil with cumin and chiles in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat for 1½ minutes. Add the asafetida (if using), and cook for 20 seconds, and then add the onion and jalapeño. Cook for 1 minute, stir in the kosher salt, and cook until the onion and jalapeño have softened, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and lentils, and cook until garlic becomes fragrant, 1 to 1½ minutes. Stir in ¼ cup of the water, cook until the pan is dry, and then add an additional 5¾ cups water and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Partially cover, and stir every 10 minutes until the lentils are soft and break apart easily but are not completely broken down, 25 to 35 minutes. Taste for seasoning, and serve with rice.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran