The Indian staple food has been rice and dal – lentils simmered in water till mashed,flavoured with salt and spices and made more tasty by frying seeds and more spices in pure Ghee(clarified butter) and when smoking hot pouring on top of the dal.Well do it with plain spices or do it with added ingredients the result is just the same – lovely,aromatic and tasty lentils which when poured on top of plain,warm rice make you feel great about the simplicity of the ingredients plus the delicious aromas and varieties they create not to forget the taste which lingers for long in your mouth.
Dal Fry originated in Northern India and was known as “poor man’s food”.Since times immemorial people have been eating dal-rice in various ways all throughout India.During the Mughal Dynasty when meat cuisine was infinitely glorified and contributed to the gastric temptations of people(in fact it is said that the recipes were so popular that people gave up vegetarianism to taste and savour the fish and meat delicacies),the humble dal-rice still continued to be had even by those who were a little tired of eating the rich,gastronomical delights.Even now if you ask my personal opinion I would gladly opt for a plate of dal-rice or curd rice(my other favorite) rather than any other option which may seem tempting!
So here is the recipe which is easy,delicious and can be made anytime.It can be had with rice or roti.A bowl of Dal Fry with a plate of rice or hot steaming phulkas/rotis spread with ghee.Enjoy health!Cheers!
Preparation Time – 1 Hour
Makes – 3-4 servings
1 cup Toor Dal/Arhar Dal/Yellow Lentils
Salt to taste
1 big Onion – sliced
1 big Tomato – chopped
2 tsp Cumin Seeds(Jeera)
3 dried red chilies
1/2 tsp Asafoetida(Heeng)
5-6 cloves Garlic – chopped(optional)
1 inch piece Ginger – minced
2 Green Chilies – chopped very finely
10-12 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
2 tsp Red Chili Powder
2 tsp Coriander Powder(Dhania)
3 tbsp Ghee
1 tbsp Oil
Pressure cook the dal with 2 1/2 cups of water till it mashes easily.Cool to room temperature.Mash coarsely with the back of a soup ladle or a big spoon and keep aside covered till ready for cooking.
Separate 1 tbsp of the sliced Onions and a little of the Green Chilies,Garlic(if using) and 5-6 curry leaves.
Heat 2 tbsp Ghee and 1 tbsp Oil in a pan.The Oil is added as we do not want the Ghee to burn.Add the Cumin Seeds and 1 dried red chilli.Add 1/4 tsp Asafoetida and fry for 2-3 seconds.Then add the chopped Garlic,Ginger,3-4 curry leaves and Green Chilies.Fry till the Chilies turn light.Add the Onions reserved for the dal.Sate till translucent.Add the chopped tomatoes and fry on low-medium heat till the tomatoes give out their water content.Add Turmeric,Coriander and 1 tsp of the Red Chili Powders.Mix well.
Add the dal to the masala and add a cup of water.Add salt.Reduce to very low heat and cook till it comes to a boil.Cover and cook till the water is reduced.
Take off heat and empty the ready dal into a bowl.Heat the remaining 1 tbsp Ghee in a small pan and add the remaining 1/4 tsp Asafoetida.Fry for a second and add the rest of the dried red chilies.Fry till they turn brown and add the reserved Garlic,Green Chilies and curry leaves.Fry for another second and add the sliced onions.Fry on low heat till the onions turn brown and crisp.Add the remaining 1 tsp Red Chili Powder and mix.
Pour this on top of the Dal and cover the bowl with a lid.Leave for 10-15 minutes for the flavours to amalgamate in the dal.
Serve hot with rice or rotis.
Dal Fry served with hot rice and roasted papads.