We made it through the never-ending winter month that is January! A pat on the back for us! High fives all round! The bad news is that Spring is still some way off. There are glimmers of it out there (hello, crocuses) but for those of us with frost still on the ground, hibernation is far from over. Luckily for us though, our resident expert on all things delicious, Noreen, has blessed us with a recipe for a wonderfully soothing, filling and nutritious daal recipe that anyone can make! Just as the last few miles of any marathon are the hardest, these last months of cold are when we need to dig deep and lean into all that is hearty, nourishing and soul-filling. We think this recipe will help us do just that.
Warming and nourishing, daal is the ultimate comfort food. Daal is a staple across South Asian countries with many preparations and approaches, but the overall method involves cooking down lentils similar to a soup of stew. Another component of daal is tarka, which is oil tempered with spices, and sometimes onion, garlic, and curry leaves as well, adding flavor and depth. Daal is simple to make and doesn’t involve much fuss, it’s one of those dishes you can just let cook while you go about your tasks. Every family makes their daal a little differently and this is the version I grew up eating. Enjoy with a bowl of fluffy steamed basmati rice or fresh naan.
for the daal
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed well and drained
- 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- salt, to taste
- 4 cups water
- fresh cilantro, to garnish
Add the lentils, garlic, turmeric, red chilli powder, salt, and water to a pot.
Bring to a boil over high heat and once bubbling, reduce the heat to medium.
Cover and let cook for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 8-10 minutes. The texture should be mostly soupy, but with a bit of texture from the flesh of the lentils.
Serve immediately with the hot tarka drizzled on top and fresh cilantro to garnish.
for the tarka
- 3 Tbsp neutral oil
- ¼ tsp dried red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp fennel seeds
Add the oil, red pepper flakes, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds to a small skillet over medium heat.
Let the spices toast until aromatic and slightly golden, about 2 minutes.
Pour the hot tarka immediately on top of the daal.