Nom of the Month: Dhal

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With the weather cooling down and September officially starting, it’s time to start thinking of foods that’ll warm our tummies. I’m post op day 5 of a wisdom tooth extraction and decided to opt to make a MASSIVE batch of dhal to keep my mouth at ease while still satisfying my stomach!

As an individual of Indian-Fijian ancestry, dhal is one of the staple foods in our culture. No two Indians make dhal the same way – but the in end, it always taste delicious! There a various methods of making it – some people stick all the ingredients into one pot while others (including myself) preferring the tempering method. I find the tempering option to have more of a “pop” in flavour, allowing you to really taste the spices added.

If I was forced to eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be dhal.. or something cheese based. Honestly, I could eat this recipe for days (and it was the main reason I chose it for my post wisdom tooth woes of a week!) This recipe is full of flavour but not a whole lot of spice – add more chilis if you like the heat! This dhal can be eaten on its own or served with rice/naan/roti.

Ingredients:

Soup:

  • 1 tbsp butter or oil
  • 1 small onion – finely chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Salt
  • 2 medium tomatoes – blanched then chopped (I prefer blanching them first to remove the skin. It makes the soup look prettier and allows the soup to have a softer consistency- optional added step!)
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 small chill – cut in half

Tempering:

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp ginger, finely minced or grated
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh coriander – finely chopped

What to do: 

  1. Wash the lentils in cold water until the water is clear and there are no “bubbles” on the water surface. Soak to the side as you prepare the rest of the ingredients. I prefer the red lentils as it cooks very quickly!
  2. Heat butter (or oil) on medium heat in a large pot. Add onions, garlic, salt and turmeric – cook through until onions are translucent.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes begin to become soft and break down – about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Drain washed lentils and add to the pot along with 3 cups of water and the chili. Bring to a soft boil and cover for 20-25 minutes. This will result in a thicker dhal (which I prefer) – add more water if you’d like!
  5. About 5 minutes before the soup is cooked, begin tempering the remaining ingredients. Add oil, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and ginger to a small sauce pan over medium to medium high heat. Continue to cook ingredient for 5 minutes or until the mustard seeds start popping. NOTE: the tempering process can be a bit finicky – if cooked for too long, the spices will burn.
  6. Add tempered spices to the soup – stir and allow to boil for another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat. Add chopped coriander and stir in. It’s ready to nom! Serves 4-6 people.
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