Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Masoor Daal - Spiced Up Red Lentils

As far back as I can remember in my life, there was always some kind of Daal present on our dining table. Dad never had a meal without Daal and when my siblings and I decided to lose weight Daal was our go to diet option. So all throughout my life Daal was always a prominent part of our diet. I have grown up loving all kinds of Daal so when I resolved to try new recipes this year, it was time to try cooking Daal for the first time ever. As if the heavens wanted me to cook Daal too, this recipe of Spiced Red Lentils popped up in front of me. It looked delicious and I just had to try it immediately.

This is a really warm and comforting Daal recipe - one which leaves you wanting more. It reminded me of the baked beans I used to look for whenever we were traveling and on vacation. The flavors are on point and it looks really yummy. It makes you feel really cozy and happy too! Impressive how much a Daal recipe can do, right? 

As much as I used to think cooking Daal would be difficult, this recipe proved me wrong. Once you have all the chopping done you let the stew cook up itself and just watch the beautiful orange colors cook. It's comforting to watch while it's cooking and delicious when you finally taste it. I loved the cooking bit just as much as I loved its flavors.

I found the recipe originally on NYT Cooking right here but I tweaked it a little bit so I'm posting my changes and step by step pictures right here. Enjoy!

  • Red Lentils (Laal Masoor Daal) - 1 cup (I soaked it in water for at least four hours)
  • Oil - 4 tbsp.
  • Onions - 1 cup finely chopped
  • Sweet Potatoes - 2 1/2 cups diced (I used one medium-ish potato)
  • Ginger - 1 tbsp. super finely chopped
  • Garlic - 2 cloves super finely chopped
  • Red Chili Powder - 1/2 to 1 tsp. according to taste
  • Coriander Powder - 2 tsp.
  • Cumin Powder - 2 tsp.
  • Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp.
  • Ginger Powder - 1 tsp.
  • Tomato Paste - 1 cup (I used canned tomato paste)
  • Chicken Stock Cube - 1 cube
  • Salt - According to taste
  • Cilantro - (Optional) For garnish
Soak the daal in water for at least two hours. I soaked my daal early morning and then cooked around mid afternoon. I had it soaked for around four hours and found it perfect for cooking.

Have all your chopped ingredients ready so cooking is easy peasy. Finely dice the sweet potatoes and fine chop the ginger, garlic, and onions.

In a large sauce pan heat the oil and add onions to it. Cook on medium high heat until softened.

Add the sweet potatoes and saute for about five minutes.

Next add the ginger and the garlic. Stir and reduce the heat to low so the potatoes can cook well.

After about two or so minutes add the lentils (daal) and all the spices.

Stir everything together very well. Let it cook for about a minute making sure it is well coated in oil.

Add the tomatoes and water and raise the heat so it starts boiling. Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat to medium so it's cooking at a fast simmer. You do not need to cover the pan with a lid, let it cook uncovered. Cook until the lentils and potatoes are soft. For me it took about twenty or so minutes.

After twenty minutes most of the liquid in my daal had evaporated. Check to see if everything has softened.

Add the chicken stock cube and a little water for it to blend in.

Once the cube dissolves completely, taste and adjust salt. At this point you can add a little water if you'd like your daal to be more liquidy or cook another minute if you'd like it to be drier. Do note that this daal soaks up some of its liquid after a while so you wouldn't want to let it be too dry.

Optional garnish with cilantro if you prefer and you're ready to eat it!

Trust me, this Daal does not disappoint. Oh and let me say this: leftovers are even better the next day! Pair it with boiled rice, chapaati, roti, paratha, naan, whatever you like. Eat it by the spoon if you will! It will only be exceptionally awesome, I promise!

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