Masala Dal is typically served with Vegetable Pilaf or Biryani, at least here in South Africa it is. In the good old days every Hindu wedding had a vegetable pilaf with masala dal on the menu. Such simple food and yet so delicious. I love those memories.
Their are many variations to cook Dal. This Masala Dal is cooked with yellow split peas, spices and masala. You can add brinjals to this Dal but I prefer not to. I remember my mum always added Brinjals to her dish but I always picked them out. I do like brinjals but I prefer to cook them as a separate dish.
For this Masala Dal you boil the dal until it is really soft. You then temper your whole spices, this is a technique used to bring out the flavors from the whole spices. Add some masala together with a few other ingredients and add the cooked dal to this. Although I say it is typically served with Pilaf or Biryani you can have it all on it’s own or serve it together with other veggie dishes. Either way it is really yum!
Dal is a staple in our home, I do cook it a few times a month and it goes down well with my kids too. It also freezes well so you can cook some in bulk and portion them. This is great especially for busy people. Not that I’m not busy, I just have a very fussy family that expects fresh food everyday.
- 1 cup dry yellow split peas
- 1 small onion finely diced
- 1 sprig curry leaf
- 1 small tomato blanched and diced
- 1/2 tspn black mustard seeds
- 1/2 tspn cumin seeds
- 1 dry chilli
- 2 large cloves garlic smashed
- 1/2 tspn turmeric
- 1/2 tspn garam masala
- 1 tspn masala
- 1/2 tspn kashmiri chilli powder
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil or melted ghee (I used light olive oil which is also fine)
- 1 piece cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- Wash the split peas well, rinse it a few times until the water runs clear. You can also soak your dhall for a few hours before boiling but not necessary. Add dhall, turmeric and some salt with 2 cups of water to a saucepan and cook until soft, I prefer mine really mushy but if you are happy with it a little grainy that's fine too.
- In a separate pan heat oil, add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, mustard seeds and cumin. As soon as the seeds start to splutter add your onion, dry chilli and curry leaf. Sauté until onion is a little brown.
- Add garlic, curry leaf and dry chilli, fry for a minute. Add masala , chilli powder and garam masala. Fry for a minute and then add the tomato. You can add a few drops of water, cover and cook on a low heat until tomatoes are cooked.
- Add the cooked split peas and let it simmer on a low heat until dhall thickens, you can check the consistency as it cooks and add more water based on your preference.