Thanks again to Sailu’s Foods, I have found the ultimate in fast foods. Split yellow moong dal (pesara pappu) are tiny lentils that have been split and de-hulled; they cook up super-fast with no need for soaking or pressure cooking.
Last week I went looking for these in a local Indian grocery store, and I came out with them. . . and four other types of dal. When I got home, I laid them all out on the counter along with the dals I already had. My daughter suggested I make “8-Dal Soup,” leading me to try an experiment that failed, badly. So, no 8-Dal Soup recipe. Consider yourself lucky.
Anyway, to get back to the dal at hand, this simple recipe is taken almost exactly from Sailu’s blog. The only change I made was to eliminate the ghee and substitute 1/4 teaspoon of canola oil, for “blooming” the spices. I feel that cooking the spices in a tiny bit of oil helps release their flavor, but if you want to eliminate even this bit of oil, feel free to experiment with dry-frying the spices. Just be careful they don’t burn.
Spiced Moong Dal
1 cup split moong dal (pesara pappu)
3 cups water
1/4 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chilies, slit lengthwise
2 dry red chilies, deseeded and torn into pieces
1 tsp grated ginger
10 curry leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric
big pinch asafoetida (hing)
1 tbsp lemon juice
Wash the dal and check it carefully for small rocks. Bring the water to a boil, add the dal, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until soft (about 15 minutes).
Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot and add the cumin seeds; cook them until they brown, but be careful not to burn. (I cooked them for about a minute.)
Add the red chilies, green chilies, curry leaves, and ginger, and cook for a few seconds. Then add the turmeric and asafetida, stir, and immediately add the cooked dal. Check to make sure there’s enough water, and if the dal seems too thick or dry, add some. (At this point, you can make this a soup by adding even more water. I served it as a thick bean dish and added only about a cup of extra water.)
Add salt to taste, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Just before serving, add lemon juice. Serve with rice or bread (pictured above with onion naan).
This was flavorful but not too spicy. To make it more spicy, include the red pepper seeds.
This was my first time using curry leaves, but now that I have a bag full of them, I’m going to be looking for other ways to use these aromatic leaves. If you are also new to curry leaves, this web page contains some valuable information, including the fact that curry leaves can be frozen, and that they should not be removed from the branches until just before cooking.