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Print this recipe Lentil Purée (Dal) Serves 4

The many dals of India differ not only in the lentil used but in the tarka—literally, "seasoning with oil".

  • FOR THE DAL:
  • 1/2 lb. imported red lentils (split), picked over and rinsed
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2'' piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • --
  • FOR THE TARKA:
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 3 dried red chiles
  • 6–8 fresh or dried curry leaves

Place lentils in a saucepan with onions, garlic, ginger, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a food mill or food processor and purée, then transfer to a clean saucepan.

Add 1 cup water and lemon juice, season with salt, then bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until dal is the consistency of thick soup, about 20 minutes. (If thick, add more water; if thin, simmer longer.)

Just before serving, prepare tarka: Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, chiles, and curry leaves. Fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer dal to 4 bowls, season with spiced oil, and serve with rice.

Recipe Credit: Saveur Magazine

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