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Five Spices Indian-Style Dal
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 3 medium carrots
- 250 g (about 2+1/2 cups florets) cauliflower (or broccoli if you prefer)
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, or 10 g (2 teaspoons) fresh turmeric
- 300 g (1+1/4 cups) chana or mung lentils (dal)
- 725- 800 ml (3-3+1/2 cups) water
- 2 bay leaves
- Oil for frying
- 1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
- 5 Spices seasoning blend (Panch Phoron);
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji or black cumin)
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- Peel and medium-dice the carrots.
- Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets.
- Deseed and medium-dice the bell pepper.
- If using fresh turmeric, mince or grate.
- Pick through, then rinse and drain the lentils.
- In a stew pot, heat a little oil over a medium flame and stir-fry the bell pepper until caramelised.
- Put in the lesser amount of water first, the turmeric and bay leaves, and bring to a boil over a high flame. Add the lentils and return to a boil stirring constantly. Reduce the flame, loosely cover, and simmer until tender, about 1 hour for chana or 30-35 minutes for mung. Skim any foam that appears. Stir regularly to prevent sticking, adding the extra water if needed to keep them loose and just covered. (Tip: to speed things up, cook the lentils in a pressure cooker; heat to high pressure and cook chana for about 8 minutes and mung for about 5 minutes. As soon as the pressure is reached, reduce the flame and set a timer. Release the pressure by placing it in the sink under a trickle of cold water.)
- Bring a small pot of salted water to a rapid boil, drop in the carrots, return to a boil and simmer for about one minute, or until tender. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Next, drop the cauliflower into the boiling water and simmer for about one minute, or until tender. Scoop out and set aside with the carrots. Cover to keep warm.
- Heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over a low-medium flame. Put in the chillies, cumin, fennel, mustard, nigella, and fenugreek seeds. Coat with the oil, cover with a splatter guard, and gently fry until the mustard seeds stop spitting and turn a shade darker. Set aside.
- When the lentils are tender, stir in the carrots and cauliflower, and heat through. Lastly, add the five spices and chillies. If needed, add a little hot water to loosen the lentils. Salt to taste.
- Serve alongside brown basmati rice, chutney, and grated cucumber combined with fresh mint, yogurt, and a touch of garlic.
Recipe (PDF 250KB)