Daal Masoor / Red Lentils
I had something completely different and interesting planned for you today, but my computer crashed last week. Even though it got fixed on Sunday I had trouble making time to write a post. So, I updated an old post from January 2012. The pictures are new but the recipe and the text remain the same.
It is rare that an Indian home will serve a meal without accompanying a lentil dish, referred to as daal. It is a ready source of protein for a balanced diet. I love red lentils a lot as they cook up quickly when you need something hearty in hurry. Contrary to its name red lentils are actually salmon colored and turns yellow after cooking. They come in two varieties- whole and split. Unlike their brown and green lentil cousins they are smaller and falls apart as they cook. Since they are high in lean protein, fiber, folate, iron and low in fat, Dr. Oz listed red lentils as a super food on his TV show last month.
Being a huge Dr. Oz fan I give importance to his words of advice. In fact, I changed my eating habits after watching him first on Oprah Show. He is such an inspiration to his viewers and listeners for his approach to life and medicine. His website is also an excellent resource for the latest information on nutrition and health. Although, we eat many of the foods that he talks about, but do not know how to get the most benefits out of them. Few years ago, terms like trans fats and foods with higher glycemic index were all alien to me, slowly after watching his show I became familiar. He educates common public about their health in a friendly and easy way.
Let’s get back to today’s recipe. Simple, nutritious and delicious, red lentil is one of the easiest daal to cook. If you are a new to cooking lentils and legumes, I’d urge you to start with this lentil. One of the things I love about this daal is that it tastes unbelievably comforting with just a few basic spices. It can be eaten alone as a hot soup, or piled on rice, with some salad and vegetable dish on the side to make it a complete meal. My mom always served with desi ghee ( clarified butter) on top that deepened the flavor of already delicious masoor daal.
Daal Masoor / Red Lentils
Ingredients for boiling lentils:
3/4 cup malka masoor /red lentils
3 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf (tear into two pieces)
Ingredients for tempering:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
ginger (about the size of one garlic clove), minced
1 large tomato, chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
Get your ingredients ready for tempering before you start cooking.
Rinse red lentils and place in a medium sauce pan. Add 3 cups of water. Bring it to boil.
Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until lentils are soft. Skim off any scum that comes on top.
Make sure you do not overcook the lentils. They get mushy in seconds.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a small pan. Add cumin when the oil gets hot. After the crackling of cumin, add chopped onion. Cook until translucent.
Add minced ginger and garlic. Cook while stirring, making sure that it does not burn.
Add turmeric, red chili powder, salt and tomatoes.
Cook this masala with little water and pressing the tomatoes with the back of the ladle. (Daal would be cooked by now) Remove bay leaves from the cooked daal.
Add onion tomato masala into daal.
Gently stir it. If the consistency of the lentil looks too thick then bring remaining 1/2 cup of water to a boil in the pan which was used for tempering.
Add it to the lentils. Check for seasoning.
Transfer red lentils in a serving bowl. Serve garnish with chopped cilantro and squeeze of lemon.
The above recipe give a satisfying hot flavor red lentil soup. If you are preparing to eat with rice or roti, you definitely need to spice up with 1 tsp garam masala and some chopped green chillies or you can serve with pickle on side.
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