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This recipe is amazingly versatile. My friend Sirisha from South India gave it to me. Read the end for how to change it for the different versions. Some of the ingredients are more easily available in Indian grocery stores (particularly the dal and curry leaves). You can sub half a jalepeno for the chile... leave the seeds or take them out as your spicy preference dictates. I always take the seeds out of the Thai chiles, and it comes out "moderately spicy."
- Wash dahl 2x. Soak half an hour or so if you want it softer. Add 3 c water.
- Cook dahl 20-25 minutes over medium heat.
- Add diced tomatoes, green chiles, and turmeric. Cook 20 minutes.
- In a separate pan, heat oil (medium heat). Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chiles, and asafoetida. Mustard seeds will "pop" like popcorn. (I advise keeping a lid on it to avoid seeds all over your stove.).
- Add seed mixture to dahl. Add salt to taste and curry leaves. Cook for 2-3 more minutes. Serve with rice. Enjoy!
- To make mango dal, cut up 2 green mangoes. (again, available in Indian grocery stores). Use in place of tomatoes. This makes a sweet dal.
- To make cucumber dal, peel and cut up 2 cucumbers or Indian cucumbers (dosaki). Use in place of tomatoes.
- To make lemon dal, do not add a vegetable and add the juice of 2 lemons with salt and curry leaves.
- To make spinach dal, add 2 c fresh spinach (or frozen spinach) about 10 minutes before cooking is over.
- You may have to add a little water with the different types of veggies.
My friend, who is from South India, came into my kitchen a took a taste of the dal, and immediately said "this dish is South Indian", so apparently it is not only delicious but is truly authentic. Instead of using fresh tomatoes I added a 28 oz. can of roma tomatoes, and I substituted jalapenos for the Thai chiles,, but otherwise followed the basic tomato version of the recipe. I will gladly save this in my Indian cookbook, and make it often. Thanks for submitting.