Dal quest continues. Coincidentally The Grauniad ran a similarly themed article - How to cook perfect dal.
This attempt had mixed pulses - green lentils, green split peas, orange lentils and black-eyed beans. They all went in to boil at the same time in plenty of water bar the orange lentils which take less time to cook and consequently went in later. I also added a knob of tamarind to give some sour-sweet background.
Instead of the obligatory onions in this I used spring-onions as they were lying around. They are very cheap on Ridley Road at the minutes - four big bunches for a pound.
- mix of dried lentils, beans and peas (whatever you have in your cupboard)
- onions or spring onions
- cumin, coriander seed, mustard seed, curry leaves, tamarind, garlic, green chillies
- creamed coconut
Set the pulses to boil, taking into account how long each one will take and adding accordingly. Chuck in a know of tamarind and some turmeric and salt.
Make the spicy onion mix. Fry the onions in a generous amount of ghee and after ten minutes add chopped garlic and lots of green chillies. Keep them at a temperature high enough to almost burn the onion, which should give it a desirably rough and smoky tinge. Add the dried spices and fry for another ten minutes.
When the pulses are cooked combine with the spices and onion. Stir and cook for another five minutes. Add some water if needed to make a soupy mixture and shave in some creamed coconut at the end: enough to hint at but not fully deliver richness.
This one has a nice mix of flavour and made a good tea with some pitta and some pickles. Nothing too exotic.