Quick and Easy Split Mung Dahl

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As a vegetarian I am often asked how I get my protein. The simple answer to this is that I get protein from a variety of sources including beans, tofu, soy products, dairy products and delicious dahl.

As a child I loved to eat dahl with rice but my favourite was to roll up a chapatti (Indian flat bread) and dip it into my dahl. My daughter also loves dahl with rice and one of her favorite foods is kichari, a dish made with rice, lentils and vegetables.

There are many many different types of dahl including mung, channa, toor, urad etc. These dahls are sold either whole or split, with or without skins, and sometimes with or without oil. Most of these varieties can be purchased at an Indian grocery store. There are hundreds of different recipes for dahl ranging from quick and easy to long and a little more difficult. Some dahl recipes have vegetables added to them and some have no vegetables. The point I am making is that there are limitless varieties of dahl so once you get the hang of it experiment! So here is a simple recipe to start with.

Quick and Easy Split Mung Dahl
(most of these ingredients are easily found in an Indian store)
Preparation time approximately 30 minutes

1 cup split mung washed thoroughly
4 1/2 cups water
2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 teaspoons salt or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 cup milk or cream

Ingredients for chaunk/vaghar/tadka
1 tablespoon ghee or oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger root
3/4 teaspoon hing (asafetida)

Place the washed split mung dahl and the water into a midsized saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat. When the water begins to boil some white foam will come to the top and this you can skim off the top with a spoon and discard. Once boiling, add the turmeric and the tomatoes and let boil for a while until the dahl begins break up and combine with the water. Reduce heat to medium/low and add salt.

To make chaunk place a separate small pan on medium heat. Put the ghee or oil into the small pan and let it get hot. Once hot add the cumin seeds, they should crack immediately (you can tell if the ghee is hot enough by adding one cumin seed and it should crack or pop straight away). Once cumin seeds are popped then add mustard seeds and let them pop too. When popping stops then add ginger and cook a little. Add hing and turn off heat. Very carefully stir the chaunk into the cooked dahl, (the dahl will probably sputter a little when the oil is added so be careful not to burn yourself) and let cook 5 minutes longer. Add the milk or cream and turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Note: Once the dahl is cooked, before the chaunk is added, you can adjust the consistency to your liking by adding more water if it is too thick.

Variation: As I mentioned before, you may add vegetables to your dahl to make it more of a soup. Leafy greens go great in dahl when they are in season.

Happy Cooking,
Pishima.
pishima@krishna.com

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