Daal Week 1: Not much screams staple more than daal and chawal (lentils and rice). It’s what anyone who is starting to cook should make, because it’s hard to get wrong, and because it is simple and comforting. The recipe I’ve presented simply builds on the basics.
Before I talk more about the dish, and customizations, here’s the recipe (serves 2-3).
|Choice of long-grain rice||2/3 cup||~135g|
|French Beans||8-10 stalks||~50g|
|Toor Daal||1/3 cup||~65g||Eng. Yellow Pigeon Pea|
|Moong Daal||1/3 cup||~65g||Eng. Polished Green Gram|
|Chilka Moong Daal||1/3 cup||~65g||Eng. Green Gram|
|Chana Daal||1/3 cup||~65g||Eng. Chickpea Kernels|
|Red Chilly Powder||2 tbsp||30g||Laal mirch|
|Cumin Powder||1 tbsp||15g||Jeera powder|
|(Optional) Garam Masala||1/2 tbsp||8g|
|(Optional) Urad Daal||1/4 cup||~50g||Eng. White lentils|
- Wash the rice with fresh water 3 times* and soak it.
- Wash the daals 3 times* and soak them together.
(*You’ll see the water become milky with starch and dirt.)
- Scrub, peel and cut the carrots and potatoes. I prefer the carrots small and the potatoes in bite-size pieces. Add them to the soaking water.
- Scrub and cut the beans into small pieces and add to the soaking water.
(Soaking everything for 10 minutes helps them cook better and soften easier.)
- Put the daals together in a pressure cooker with enough water to cover them with about 100ml or an inch of water extra, whichever is more.
(You basically want a little extra water so that the lentils don’t dry up in the cooker.)
- If you have a second pressure cooker, use it for the rice and vegetables, otherwise use a deep pot. You want 2 parts water to 1 part rice, and equal parts water for vegetables. If using a pot, boil for 10 minutes on high before checking the rice.**
**Spoon out a few grains of rice and bite to check if cooked.
- When using a pressure cooker, I like to keep it on high until the first whistle and then on low for subsequent whistles. For both rice and lentils, I keep it on for 3 whistles. After that let your pressure cooker rest and cool down. DO NOT ATTEMPT to open the cooker until the whistle offers no steam when lifted.
- Once the pressure cooker for the daal has opened, stir it well to avoid sticking to the bottom and put it back on heat. Add salt, turmeric powder, chilly powder and asafoetida. Let thicken. Taste, and adjust.
- Optional Tempering: Add butter to the daal to make it richer, though it doesn’t need it. Fry 1 diced onion in a little butter till it turns brown. Top the dal with the onions, fresh coriander and a knob of butter to serve.
As you can see, I’ve put down instructions in order of how I’d do them. I want to gear this series towards beginners – because that’s the only group of people I think I am qualified to teach. 🙂
This daal recipe is one of my childhood favourites and I picked it straight up from my mother, altering it here and there. This whole thing requires minimal effort from a cooking standpoint and is perfect for beginners. If you don’t mind plain rice, you can leave out the vegetables to further reduce your effort.
The stew naturally thickens because of the chilka daal – there really isn’t need for butter. However, if you’re looking to make this for guests, a little richness goes a long way – you can consider ghee as well. Also consider tempering the daal with cumin seeds (jeera) – simply fry them for a few seconds in oil or ghee, and tip over into the daal bowl. If you’re a beginner, be careful not to burn yourself.
I haven’t added urad daal in the stew – it’ll add a lot of flavour, but it is quite gassy on the stomach. If you add it, be sure not to be stingy with asafoetida, and serve with cold curd/yoghurt.
I’ve served both items with blanched broccoli florets, drizzled with curd on top. Completely optional – I did it for the color, and because curd serves as a cleanser.
Thank you for checking out #RecipeLab! There are more recipes in Daal Week – check back on the Navigation Post Right Here to see the other recipes, or check out the Cooking category in the Library to see what else I have. 🙂