This is one of those recipes I have come up with over the years. When I first started cooking, I was a bit out of my depth finding an “easy to put together” vegetable, lentil or anything that would be good with chappathis.
A good thing about lentils is that you will always find them in some variety or the other in Indian kitchens, and pink lentils and moong lentils do not even need to be soaked before cooking them. They're also comfort food to the Indian psyche and there are very few of us who do not like cooked lentils with our meals.
In my parents rice eating south Indian home (and my husband’s), chappathis were not considered “filling” enough for lunch or dinner but more of a “tiffin”. So while I didn’t find it too difficult to cook up a south Indian meal, finding something (to serve with chappathis or parathas) that was easy to cook, wholesome and tasty took a little longer.
I have since added a few such recipes or come up with my own concoctions that are now a part of my regular cooking.
Quite a few North Indian style curries, at least the ones served in most Indian restaurants, are usually rich but home coked daily preparations are rarely cooked in ghee or with cream. These are reserved for special occasions.
This recipe of mine is creamy in texture from the lentils and yogurt which gives it a texture and tase reminiscent of cream, yet is light on the palate and the digestive system. Serve it warm with chappathis (or rice) and a slald for a complete meal.
Spicy Whole Masoor Dal (Pink Lentils)Ingredients:2 cups cooked whole masoor (pink lentils)2 onions, diced1 big tomato, diced1/2 tsp ginger paste1/2 tsp garlic paste2 green chillies, slit lengthwise1/2 cup fresh yogurt1/4 tsp turmeric powder1 1/2 tsp coriander powder1 tsp cumin powder1 tsp garam masalasalt to taste2 tsp oil1 – 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves, for garnishingMethod:Cook your lentils until they're well done but not mushy.Grind the onions and tomato into a fine paste.Heat the oil and add the ginger and garlic pastes. Saute and then add the green chillies and the onion tomato paste. Over medium heat sauté till the raw smell of onion disappears. If the paste looks too dry while sautéing, add 2 tbsps of water and continue cooking.Once the paste is cooked add the turmeric, coriander, cumin and garam masala powders. Sauté a few times, and add the whole masoor/ lentils. If the lentils are too dry add enough water (between half and one cup should do) to ensure the dal is thick in consistency. Using a wooden spoon, lightly mash the lentils so that dal becomes a little thick in consistency. Add the salt, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and cook for about 5 minutes add it.Whisk the yogurt and add to the dal, stirring continuously. Turn off the heat and mix the dal well to ensure the yogurt is well blended.Do not turn up the heat or allow the dal to boil once the yogurt has been added or it will split/ curdle spoiling the appearance of the dish.Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve warm with chappathis, parathas or rice.THis recipe should serve 4.