… aka red lentil and tomato dal. Serves about a million. Don’t worry – it freezes well!
3L vegetable stock
3 cups masoor dal (red lentils), rinsed/cleaned
1 large onion, chopped
800g chopped tomatoes (canned is fine)
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 1/4 teaspoons powdered/ground cumin
salt + pepper to taste
1. Bring stock to boil in a large pot (the biggest you’ve got, probably). Add lentils, onion, tomato, and garlic.
2. Simmer 40-50 minutes, uncovered, until lentils cooked, breaking down, and sauce reduced. Stir occasionally during this time (if you remember) making sure the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Add more water if mixture gets too thick before lentils are cooked (unlikely, unless the lentils are old).
3. Stir through cumin. Add salt + pepper to taste.
4. Serve over rice, with wedges of lemon to squeeze over it. (You add lemon juice after cooking so the vitamin C/taste isn’t destroyed by the heat.)
Dal – as well as a decent main dish – goes well as a side dish to all sorts of curries, too, or with soups. You can also serve this as a dip with pappadums, crackers or chips… Don’t forget to stir through some lemon juice first! (Note that if this tastes funny, you’ve probably added too much cumin – be careful not to add too much! Powdered cumin is much stronger than jeera/cumin seeds. If it’s bland, there’s probably not enough salt/stock or garlic/cumin, or you forgot the lemon – getting the right balance of flavours in this recipe is important, but pretty easy.