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Dal, daal, dahl.. however you spell it, it is delicious! A staple comfort food all over India, there are probably as many varieties as there are dialects and that's a lot! Recipes will vary from region to region and even from family to family.

My recipe is my own hybrid, which I stumbled upon while trying to duplicate the dal makhani I would get at the dhabas (roadside truck stops) in Punjab, India. It was actually made with black moong or mung beans, but I have found I really like the green so that's what I use.

I just experimented with various spice variations until I hit on a combination that brings back the memories of fighting off flies and relishing the occasional cool breeze as I sat in the shade and gobbled my dal with warm fresh chapatis and semi-cool water from stainless steel cups of questionable cleanliness.

Each time I make dal it may be slightly different, as I rarely measure anything. I made note of the ingredients as I went along this time, so I could give an accurate recipe and instructable. You can be somewhat flexible and adjust the ingredients to suit your preference and palate. For example, I use a LOT of lime and cilantro at the end, because I just love a really tangy dal. My sister loads her bowl up with yoghurt where I just like a dollop, and my father likes a couple whole chilies in his bowl. You can also mess with the spices to increase or reduce the heat. I would say on a scale of 1-5 based on the Thai restaurant scales, this recipe would be a 3. Use less cayenne and fresh green chilies if you want it milder, or just add lots of yoghurt, like my sister does.

Step 1: FULL RECIPE

Super Tangy Moong Dal

This recipe calls for a large pressure cooker, which if you don't have one, you should start looking at thrift stores and garage sales because they are out there in abundance and they are a wonderous and time-saving kitchen tool. If you want to make dal now and don't have a pressure cooker, skip to the end to see the variation for using a standard pot.

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup dried green moong beans (becomes about 2 cups when soaked overnight)

2 or 3 cups water (see below)

1/3 cup dried chenna (AKA chickpeas/garbanzo beans) or one 14 oz can including liquid

2-3 medium yellow onions chopped or thinly sliced

2-3 tomatoes or one can diced tomatoes (no spice added)

1 bunch fresh cilantro

3 limes, juiced

4 tbs or more sweet cream butter (I use between a half and one normal stick)

thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated

Plenty of fresh garlic (I use about 12 cloves) --finely chopped

6 fresh green chilies
(I used 4 minced soranos without the cores and seeds and three whole jalapeños)

1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp salt

1 level tsp freshly ground black pepper (if you use pre-ground, increase to a heaping tsp)

1 heaping tbs ground turmeric

2 heaping tbs garam masala mixture

1/8 tsp asofoetida powder (optional)
1/8 tsp fenugreek powder (optional)

PREPARATION:

If it's not too inconvenient, soak your beans overnight. This is not required, but I find the results are well worth it. If you can't soak your beans, you will need to increase the amount of water by about the same volume as the beans, since soaking them absorbs enough water to double their mass.

Measure out all your dry spices onto a plate (this is always visually fun)

Chop one onion, cut the other into fine crescent slices.

Grate the ginger and chop the garlic.

Remove the seeds and core from your green chilies and chop them finely.

On medium heat put the oil in the bottom of your pressure cooker add the onions. Stir until translucent. Add fresh garlic, ginger, and green chilies and mix well. Simmer for about five minutes, stirring regularly.
Add dry spices and mix until all spices are incorporated into a dense goop. Keep stirring and when it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a little water and keep stirring, reducing it until it begins to stick again. Add the garbanzos and liquid and stir for a minute.

Now add your beans and tomatoes and enough water to make a chunky soup texture (I do about equal parts water to beans), mix well and cover. Seal your pressure cooker and wait for it to reach full pressure. Once rocker is going strong, reduce heat to a steady hiss and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Turn off burner and let pressure drop naturally.

Now is a good time to rough-chop your cilantro--yes, the whole bunch!

Once pressure plug has dropped on its own, run cold water over the pot for about fifteen seconds too assure there is no pressure left before opening.

Add butter and stir until melted.

Now add cilantro and lime juice. You can start with the juice of one lime and taste, then add more to taste. DO NOT use bottled lime juice, it really spoils the flavor! I like it super tangy so I use three or four limes. Mix well, taste and add salt if needed.

Serve with plain yoghurt, chapatis, rice or tortillas.

******************************************************************

VARIATION FOR STANDARD (non-pressure) POT:

If you don't have a pressure cooker you can alter this recipe slightly and it will come out just as delicious.
What you need to do is pre-cook the beans before you begin the process. Once you have boiled, simmered and drained the beans, set them aside and start at the beginning. Here are the directions for properly pre-cooking the moong beans. There is a slight difference to the actual cooking process, also noted below.

First you MUST soak the beans for at least five hours. All day or all night is fine if you can plan ahead. I find it easiest to leave them to soak before I leave in the morning. Always be sure to soak in a bowl much larger than the volume of beans you will be using. I soak 1-2 cups in large glass measuring cup that holds at least four cups. I fill it to the top with water.

When the beans are nice and plump from soaking, drain and place in a LARGE heavy-based pot with eight cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour, or until the dal feels soft and squishes easily between the fingers.

Drain and set it aside, then follow the recipe from beginning to end but using the same heavy-bottomed pot and where it says to cover and bring to pressure, simply bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes with a cover stirring once every five minutes or so just to keep the bottom from burning.

Step 2: Gather the Goods

SOFTWARE:
1 cup dried green moong or mung beans (becomes about 2 cups when soaked overnight)

2 or 3 cups water (see below)

1 can including liquid (12-16oz can) garbanzos/chickpeas (or 1/3 cup dried chenna)

2-3 medium yellow onions chopped or thinly sliced

1 can diced tomatoes, no spice added (12-16oz can)

1 bunch fresh cilantro

3 limes, juiced

4 tbs or more sweet cream butter (I use between a half and one normal stick)

1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated

Plenty of fresh garlic (I use about 12 cloves) --finely chopped

6 fresh green chilies
(I used 4 minced soranos without the cores and seeds and three whole jalapenos)

1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp salt

1 level tsp freshly ground black pepper (if you use preground, increase to a heaping tsp)

1 heaping tbs ground turmeric

2 heaping tbs garam masala mixture

1/8 tsp asofoetida powder (optional)

1/8 tsp fenugreek powder (optional)



HARDWARE:
Large pressure cooker (or large heavy bottomed pot if you have pre-cooked your beans as described in the FULL RECIPE step)
Cutting board
Good knife
Measuring cups/spoons
Microplane or other fine grater

OPTIONAL:
Food Processor (if available and you are lazy or sensitive to onion gas)
Garbage Bowl


If it's not too inconvenient, soak your beans all day or overnight. This is not required (if you use a pressure cooker), but I find the results are well worth it.

Measure out all your dry spices onto a plate (this is always visually fun)

Chop the onion.

Grate the ginger and chop the garlic.

Remove the seeds and core from your green chilies and chop them finely.
Use your food processor for whichever steps you see fit. This time I used mine for the onions, garlic and green chilies, but usually I just use my trusty knife for everything.

Step 3: Cook the Flavor Base

On medium-high heat put the oil in the bottom of your pressure cooker add the onions. Stir until translucent. Add fresh garlic, ginger, and green chilies and mix well. Simmer for about five minutes, stirring regularly.

Add dry spices and mix until all spices are incorporated into a dense goop. Keep stirring and when it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a little water and keep stirring, reducing it until it begins to stick again. Add another cup of water and stir, scraping the bottom well.

Step 4: Add Remaining Ingredients and Cook Under Pressure

Add the garbanzos and liquid and stir for a minute.

Now add your beans and tomatoes and enough water to make a chunky soup texture (I added about one more cup here, so maybe 2.5 cups all together including the water added in the previous step), mix well and toss in a few whole chilies if you prefer, then cover.

Seal your pressure cooker and wait for it to reach full pressure. Once rocker is going strong, reduce heat to a steady hiss and cook for approximately 20 minutes.

Step 5: Prepare Your Garnish Ingredients and Rice or Breads

Now is a good time to rough-chop your cilantro, juice your limes and measure your butter.

After 20 minutes at full pressure, turn off burner and let pressure drop naturally for another 15 or 20 minutes. This is important, do not skip this step or your dal will be undercooked and not as silky smooth or delicious. Instead of WAITING hungrily to open the pressure cooker, I suggest you use this time to heat your flat breads or put on a pot of rice to cook so everything will be ready at the same time.

Step 6: Open, Garnish and Serve!

Just to be safe, before opening the pressure cooker move it to the sink and run cold water over the pot for about fifteen seconds too assure there is no pressure left inside before opening. If you have a newer cooker with a failsafe pressure release, you can use that method instead. I like the cold water method because it it faster, quieter and less messy since there is no water being forced out this way.

Add butter and stir until melted. Add cilantro and lime juice.

You can start with the juice of one lime and taste, then add more to taste.

I like it super tangy so I use three or four limes. Mix well, taste and add salt if needed.
DO NOT use bottled lime juice, it really spoils the flavor!

Serve with plain yoghurt and chapatis, rice or tortillas.

Or just a spoon.
I have it all the time! :) It's delicious.
&nbsp;mouth watering indeed!<br /> <br /> why not call it daal tadka or daal fry &nbsp; :-)<br />
whoah i think my stomache just exploded like a leoploridon after it eats breakfast. (pardon my spelling, too hungry for dal to spellll.....................)
lol, hope you tried it, and hope it was a success!
I think that was my friend who posted that @.@ but yea it does look good.
As a college student who'll gain access to a full kitchen in the coming semester, this is a recipe that I'd look forward to making, since dal is tasty, and to me, the leftovers taste even better in the coming days. However, I doubt me or any of my friends will be able to bring a pressure cooker with us, so do you have any suggestions on how to adjust the cooking time/manner if we attempt the recipe without one (i.e. making dal with a normal pot)?
Alright, posted the variation at the end of the FULL RECIPE step (step 1), please let me know what you think. I just sort of rattled it off the top of my head so if I wasn't articulate enough or if anything is unclear, please let me know so I can edit it for you. And you are so right about the leftovers! I am in the habit of making a LARGE pot of dal and eating it for lunch and snacks all week. Mmmm, I think I'll go have a small bowl now!
Sorry about that, almost a year since my last reply, but better than never, right? Right? :P Managed to hop over to a food co-op and finagle the ingredients from there (the spices were a fun challenge and a nice way to get a tour of the place while there) and the recipe was a resounding success! Well, I did inadvertently forget to seed and core the peppers, instead just chopping off the stems and using the rest, but now I won't forget again. Most of my friends, like me, prefer things on the spicy side anyway, but the taster, poor guy, did not. But an antacid and an apology were readily accepted.
awesome job, looks so good I can almost smell it! And yes, seeding and coring your peppers is optional, always! I often leave a couple whole ones in so people who like it super hot have that option to take a whole chili, but leave the stem on and do not stir too much or those seeds will all come out!
I can't wait to make this. thanx a lot!
hmmmmmmmm I made this just now. Spooning it while writing. This is the best ever. Really liked the Cilantro (thats what we call it here in Canada)in it. Realized after my second bowl that I had forgot to put the butter in. Well maybe next time. One lime was good for me. Thanks for this delicious receipe.
You know, that's what I love about this dish. You can use what you have on hand and often if you leave out one ingredient or change the amount it still comes out delicious. I'm sure it's healthier to leave out the butter anyway! I'm so glad you liked it.
Great receipe. But everyone in the world uses the word Coriander, rather than Cilantro...
haha, I like that. "everyone in the world". Well, except for the huge population who call it cilantro. Oh yes, and those who call it Chinese parsley, or even those who just call it parsley. Of course in India it is called dhania... I am sure there are many other names for it in other parts of the world as well. I myself call it cilantro, and the seeds I refer to as coriander. No matter what you call it, it is delicious in so many ways! Hope you enjoyed the recipe.
On the plate, it looks like a ton a salt. I'm always surprised by how much salt bean dishes require to be tasty.
Yeah, it does look like a lot, but it's actually only 2 teaspoons like snow on the mountain of about six tablespoons of other spices. I usually use a little less salt than others would, as I don't care for really salty foods. Besides, salt is something so many people are in the habit of adding at the table and it incorporates quickly so I figure better too little than too much!
Damn, I've been looking for an easy spicy Dahl recipe since elementary school. This looks excellent...
Let me know how it turns out for you!
This. Looks. Freaking. Good. +1 rating.
looks good!
AWESOME!

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