Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dhal (Lentil Puree)

I went to Bangladesh for a month during college to help out at a school over there. While I was there, one of the Bengali teachers at the school had me and my host family over for dinner. She served us Prawns in Coconut Milk, rice and Dahl. If you're familiar with Indian food, you may know that Dahl is a staple of many Indian diets. It can be eaten as a main course or a side dish. I usually make it as a side dish with a curry & rice being our main dish. Dahl is delicious, healthy and very simple to make. My 14 month old loves it as a meal or a snack.

Here's the recipe as given to me from my Bengali friend:

Any type of lentils can be used for this, but red lentils or moong are the quickest cooking type and do not need soaking. (I was unable to find red lentils so I used green and they worked just fine).

250 grams lentils (This was about half of my 450 g bag)
1 1/2 tablespoons ghee (butter) or oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger (I've substituted powdered ginger but I'm sure fresh tastes much better)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
3 cups hot water
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala (see recipe on this site if you would like to make your own garam masala)

Wash lentils thoroughly, removing those that float on the surface. Drain well. Heat ghee (butter) and fry onion, garlic and ginger until onion is golden brown. Add turmeric and stir well. Add drained lentils and fry for a minute or two then add hot water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are half cooked. Add salt and garam masala, mix well and continue cooking until lentils are soft and the consistency is similar to porridge. If there is too much liquid, leave the lid off the pan to speed evaporation. Serve dhal plain or garnished with sliced onions, fried until deep golden brown. Eat with boiled rice, Indian breads or as a light meal by itself.

Dhal can be frozen and reheated well. It might get a bit mushier if reheated but it still tastes great. If reheating, add some water to the dish to rehydrate and so it won't burn while heating up.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I'm going to try this! We'll see if it's as good as Joanna's. :)