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Destination Dish December Recipe: Classic North Indian Dal

Back in 2008, I did my first Indian wedding at Paradise Point for 250 guests. This unique lentil recipe was given to me by the mother of the bride.  She came to the hotel before the wedding date just to teach me her recipe for North Indian dal, a warm, hearty dish with nutty, earthy, and slightly spicy flavor. 

Dal also delivers all the health benefits of lentils: loads of fiber and protein that will leave you with lower cholesterol, a healthier heart and digestive system, and a full stomach but low calories. Despite only learning the lentil recipe a few days before, my team received a standing ovation when we served this dish on the bride and groom’s big day, and we’ve been using this Indian dal recipe ever since.

INDIAN DAL RECIPE INGREDIENTS:

Yields 4 Servings

  • 1cup dal lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoon ghee
  • 3 dried red Thai chilies
  • 1teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon methi seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon heeng
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced coarsely
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 12 fresh coriander leaves

 

INDIAN DAL RECIPE DIRECTIONS:

In a saucepot, wash dal in 3 to 4 changes of cold water. Add 4 cups of water and let sit for 20 minutes. Place dal and soaking water on medium-high heat, adding turmeric and salt, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook partially covered at a rolling boil till dal grains are soft to the center and appear shredded and fragmented, about 20-30 minutes. If needed, evaporate water until dal has consistency of a lentil soup. Grains should appear broken, but not entirely dissolved. Do not overcook the dal, which will lead to a pasty consistency.

Whisk yogurt in a bowl until smooth and stir in with dal until dissolved. Turn heat off. Place the ghee in a small sauté pan on medium high heat. Carefully add the red chilies, cumin seeds, methi and heeng till the cumin seeds darken. If the ghee is smoking hot, this will take only a few seconds. Quickly add the sliced garlic cloves and cook until they just begin to brown at the edges, then turn heat off.

Pour immediately into the dal and cover. The daal will sizzle when the garlic and seeds are added with the hot ghee. Let settle for a minute, then stir in the juice of a lime and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.

Be sure to visit the Destination Dish website to see more unique lentil recipes by other chefs, where the dishes are being served, and get to know the culinary talents behind Destination Hotels & Resorts’ delicious fare.

 

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