Its April 11th, and it is still snowing. Okay, I will give credit where credit is due: We had an awesome January and February - great weather, sunshine, hardly any snow. And now in April, we are getting all kinds of dreariness.
So here I am on Twitter and Danelle W mentions that this is a great day for soup. For some reason, the first thing that came to my mind was ‘Daal’. Quick education for those who don’t know: Daal is an Indian/Bangladeshi style lentil soup that can be consumed on its own, with rice, or with bread - all depending on how think you make it.
Anyway, the conversation went like this:
So by the end of it, Jorge wasnt the only one salivating for soup, I was too. I love daal. Actually, I lie. I am a daal FANATIC. Whenever I make a pot of it, I always end up going overboard and finishing it within a day or two.
Today I am going to share my daal recipe that I enjoy varying degrees of success with, depending on how long I manage to simmer this thing before I get impatient and take it off the stove to drink it all up. There are various types of daal, and the one I make is possibly the simplest, no-frills one. However, no matter how many times I try and make this, it never - NEVER - comes out as good as mom’s. :(
Anyway, here goes. My measurements may not be accurate because I always eyeball everything and dont even own measuring cups or measuring spoons. But I’ll try my best to give you an idea!
How to make Daal - Bangladeshi style:
- Red lentils (2 cups)
- Water (3-4 cups. You can always add more, depending on how the cooking is going)
- Salt (start with 1/2 teaspoon and adjust to taste)
For the ‘garnish’ or finishing, I also use
- 2-3 teaspoons of chopped up coriander/cilantro
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or mustard oil
- 1 teaspoon sliced garlic
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
- 1/4 of a small/medium onion, sliced up thin
- 1/2 teaspoon of sliced green chillies OR crushed dry red chillies
Okay! And this is how you put this all together:
1. Put lentils in a pot. Wash 2-3 times till water is more or less clear. Drain.
2. Add in the 3-4 cups water. Add salt.
3. Bring to boil, then lower to medium-high heat. Keep pot uncovered.
PRO TIP: If you dont want a pot of water to spill over, simply rest a big wooden spoon across the rim. Not in the pot, but across the rim. The water will bubble on until it hits the wooden spoon, and then go back down! Its magic! You’re welcome.
4. Check water level. If it’s getting too dry, dump more water in there. Once it’s been mildly boiling away for 30 mins, lower heat to medium-low. Stir it for a minute or so. Don’t be shy, use your muscles and stir that thing!
5. Partially cover the pot. Let it simmer away for another 30-40 minutes AT LEAST.
I know. You want to eat already. While the daal is simmering away into oblivion, take this time to slice up your onions and garlic.
6. Let’s make the garnish! Take a frying pan, and put in the oil. Heat it for a minute and then put in the onions. Let is fry till it gets brown. Then put in the garlic. Let that also go until it gets brown. Now put in the nigella seeds and chillies. Stir it about for a minute and when your onion and garlic starts looking too dark for your taste, take it off.
7. Now the fun part! Take your little frying pan and tip it over on top of your daal that is simmering away! Yep, dump the onion, garlic, nigella seed and chilli mixture into the daal, WITH the oil you fried it in!
8. Turn the stove off immediately and remove daal from the heat.
9. Dump the chopped up coriander on top of the daal.
10. Voila!! Dig in!
Notes: You can adjust this to the desired thickness you want. If you like a thick soup, don’t add too much water in Step 4. If you like a runnier soup, feel free to add as much water as you’d like in Step 4.
The LONGER you simmer the daal for in Step 5, the TASTIER IT WILL BE.
You can enjoy the daal with rice or bread (if its a bit thicker), or by itself! Depending on my mood, I sometimes squeeze in some lemon in my daal and that just sends the flavours through the roof!
Variations: I sometimes like to cut up tomatoes and put them in my daal. I usually add them in Step 4.
Now I know what I am making for dinner tonight! :)
Happy Eats, loves!