Bengalis love their dal. A lunch is never quite complete without a good hearty dal, typically masoor (red lentils) or moong (yellow lentils), accompanied by fried papad (yes, we rarely have it roasted) and a generous squeeze of lemon.
Red lentils are cooked in a myriad of ways. Usually non-elaborate and beguilingly simple. The fundamentals are always quite the same – pressure cook the soaked dal with a touch of turmeric, a sprinkle of salt and the heat of couple of fiery green chillies.
In its earthy incarnation, you just mash the pressure cooked dal and serve it with a dollop of ghee or a drizzle of mustard oil, spiked with green chillies and maybe a chopped red onion. Or you could temper the dal and the options are endless. Just a caress of whole cumin seeds. Or a punch of paanchforon. Or onions, chopped fine and fried to a gorgeous golden brown.
Here I cook the red lentils with vegetables, a kiss of cumin and coriander and the fire of chillies, inspired by the delectable Middle Eastern red lentil stew, again a family favorite of ours.
Sabji dewa Musur dal (Red lentil curry with veggies)
- 1 cup masoor dal or musur dal or red lentils soaked in water for about an hr
- 1/4 cup carrot diced
- 1/4 cup peas
- 1/4 cup cauliflower small florets
- 1/4 cup french beans diced
- 2 tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 - 3 green chillies slit
- 1/4 cup corinader leaves chopped
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 2-3 dry red chilies
- 1 tbsp mustard oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
- Pressure cook the soaked dal with 2 cups of water, a sprinkle of salt, a pinch of turmeric powder and 2 green chillies.
- Blanch the carrots, french bean and cauliflower florets. Keep aside.
- Heat the mustard oil, temper with whole cumin seeds and dry red chilies.
- When the cumin seeds start spluttering, add the onion and garlic and fry till the onion is lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes on a moderate flame.
- Add the turmeric powder, cumin powder and coriander powder and saute for a minute.
- Add the pressure cooked dal, blanched vegetables and peas. Simmer gently for 5-6 minutes.
- Add sugar and salt to taste. Serve hot with rice.