Brown Lentil Dal

• Share on Facebook • Add to Digg It!

After attempting to make the lovely parippu tonight, I accidentally made this instead. How? Well, with almost my entire body in a cupboard searching for split red lentils with no success, I discovered a huge container of brown lentils I’d never used. I immediately abandoned the parippu in favour of a made up dal. I’m sure it’s quite authentic in some far flung part of India, but it’s by happy coincidence if it is. I must say, it was truly delicious. Lovely and nutty and flavoursome.


225g whole brown lentils
1 onion (chopped)
1 tomato (peeled and chopped)
2 fresh green chillies (finely chopped)
1 handful fresh coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garama masala

Extra Ingredients:
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 small onion (halved and thinly sliced)
10-12 fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 small lemon (juice of)
1/2 cup cream

Pick over the lentils for stones. Put them in a large heavy based pan. Add the tomato, onion, chillies, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon stick, salt and chilli powder and cover with 1 litre warm water. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. to reduce down the liquid till almost dry. Check that the lentils are soft but not too mushy. Cook for longer if necessary, adding a little more water if needed. When done, remove from heat.

Heat the oil in a small pan until hot. Pour in the mustard seeds, and put on the lid, after they stop popping (10-20 seconds) take off the lid and add the curry leaves. Quickly stir and add the onions, fry over a high heat until they are browned around the edges, for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat the tip the onion mix into the dal and stir in along with the cream. Heat over a medium temperature until it comes back to a simmer then remove from the heat. Pick out the cinnamon then stir in the lemon juice just before you serve.

Serve with breads or basmati rice.

%d bloggers like this: