My dad is a business man. He owns a company in Goa called Wood Kraft which deals with carpentry. Most of the workers who work for my dad come from West Bengal and other nearby states…
Those workers mainly cook and love to eat dal with rice and some plain onion and chilli salad. Maybe sometimes even some papad and achar(pickle) too. That’s what they cook almost everyday except on Sundays when it’s their chicken or fish day… Once I asked them why only dal? And, that too red lentils? To that they replied saying that it was cheap, easy to make and kept them full for a longer time… Those guys have rice and dal as breakfast too, at times… But, this poor man’s dal, which was 80 rupees per kg when I last checked is like a luxury food for Nigel and me… we love dal and especially if it’s got potatoes in it… I know dal with potatoes would sound crazy for some but that’s our go to comfort food…
We mostly eat dal on Fridays throughout the year, except if there’s some other food cooked that day..
Dal + steamed Rice + Mama’s homemade pickle + fried papad = Two happy souls~ him and me *drooling*
Legumes, pulses and lentils are a great source of fibre and protein. They are low in fat too and because it has a low glycemic index it tends to keep one full for a longer period of time. They mandatory in a vegetarian diet.
We always stock up on a lot of red lentils because it comes quite handy and is perfect to add to stews, curries, soups, salads, broths, etc. It just adds the wow-factor to any perfectly wholesome comfort meal.
Lentils have been cultivated since ancient times, originating in Central Asia and forming the staple diet of the poor for many centuries.
I say this only because besides the workers who work for my dad, I’ve also seen people in Mumbai slums ( I met people living in slums as part of my college projects) , cooking dal and rice as their main staple food. Some of them even eat rice and green chillies with some salt or rice with plain chilli powder as a meal too, which is quite upsetting when you’ve been given all the luxuries in life… *sigh*
Lentils, in general, have a mild flavour and they readily absorb the flavours of ingredients with which they are cooked. That’s great, as you can always adjust the flavours, go all out and explore different combinations to experimentally prepare various dal recipes…
I have many, many dal recipes I make, however this recipe is just one of the many and it’s quite tasty and wholesome…
- 1 1/2 cup red lentils, washed and soaked for half an hour.
- 3 tbsp of oil
- 1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped
- 6-7 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 small onions, finely chopped
- 3 green chillies, finely chopped
- 1 tomato, finely chopped
- 6-7 small potatoes, cut into large cubes.
- 1 big carrot, cut into large cubes
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2-3 red dried Kashmiri chillies, roughly broken into 3 pieces by hand
- 1 1/2 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
- Few fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
- Water as per requirement
- Salt to taste
Boil the red lentils with enough water in the pressure cooker for up-to two whistles.
In a pot, heat some oil. Once the oil is hot enough, add the cumin, mustard seeds and red chillies, let them crackle.
Sauté in the ginger and garlic for a min or two. Do not let it burn.
Add in the onions, green chillies, some salt and sauté it until the onions turn golden.
Toss in the tomatoes and sauté until they turn mushy.
Add all the dry spices and sauté for half a min more.
Now it’s time for the potatoes and carrot to go in… give them a nice toss, cover the lid and let them cook for 5mins…
Toss again and then gently add in the pressure cooked lentils. Give it a stir. Take care at this point as the lentils are quite thick and it could easily boil and burn you.. To avoid this, add enough water but not too much.
Cover and let it simmer until the potatoes and carrots are cooked.
Serve hot with a garnish of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves…
Enjoy it even as a soup if you’re off carbs and don’t want to eat rice…
Do you like dal too?
Do you add potatoes to your dal?
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