Dal is a staple side dish in many Indian Kitchens. It is cooked in different variations on a daily basis. It is served as a side dish with rice or roti. Known as the best source of vegan protein, there are many different kinds of dal that are used across the globe. Though all of them are good sources of protein, they also have some additional benefits in terms of other minerals like iron and potassium. Toor/Arhar Dal that I have used here also provides dietary fiber in addition to folic acid. Dal fry is the most popular variety consumed across India.
Coming to the recipe, I have used minimal ingredients to flavor the dish. There is no garlic, no onions and no garam masala. The green onions I have used can be easily replaced with coriander or can be omitted all together with no loss in taste. The flavor to the dish comes from the liberal use of cumin, asafetida and the ripe organic tomatoes. As we are using minimal ingredients, the freshness of the ingredients plays a critical factor in the taste of the dish. I prefer to use Organically grown vegetables and lentils to the extent possible based on the availability of the produce and the cost factor.
Ingredients for 2 medium Servings of dal fry
|Toor Dal||½ cup|
|Green Chilli||2 Sliced|
|Ripe Tomatoes||2 medium|
|Green Onion||½ cup diced|
|Cumin seeds||1½ tea spoon|
|Asafoetida||1/8 tsp or a pinch.|
|Kasuri Methi||1 tsp|
|Salt||1/8 tsp or to taste|
Preparation of dal fry
- In a pressure cooker add the washed toor dal, turmeric and about one and half cups of water. At this point if you have time, the washed dal can be soaked for about 15-30 minutes. Soaking will result in faster cooking times and saved gas.
- Close the lid with the whistle and cook on medium high for 2 whistles. I always soak the dal and hence it gets cooked into a mush for two whistles. If you are not soaking, you might have to cook longer for an additional whistle. I have a small 2 liter cooker which works ideal for small servings like this.
- Heat a pan and add the oil. Add the cumin seed and asafoetida and fry for about 30 seconds for the raw smell to dissipate.
- Add the diced tomato, green onion and green chilli, if using. The green chilli can be replaced by red chilli powder and can be added based on individual preference for spice.
- Saute the vegetables and once they start turning mushy, add the cooked dal.
- Add the salt, chilli powder if required and heat the dal through. Additional water can be added based on the consistency required.
- Remove from the heat when it just starts bubbling.
- Crush the kasuri methi leaves in your hand and add them to the dish.
- Serve with sliced lemon wedges with rice/roti for a sumptuous meal.
Variants of dal fry :
- Green Onions can be replaced with coriander leaves.
- Asafoetida is a very strong spice and many families do not use it. It can be omitted or can be replaced with 2 cloves of sliced garlic for a different flavor.