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  • Sookhi Dal
    Dry, Spiced Lentils

    YIELD: 7 CUPS / 1.7 L
    TOOLS: You’ll need a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L (or larger) stockpot or Dutch oven with a lid and an 8-inch / 20-cm frying pan.

    In the Punjabi home, this dried version of soupy lentils is eaten with unleavened bread and a curry on the side. I tend to use it as my favorite filling for a wrap or pita on days when we just can’t think of anything else to make for dinner. I often buy mini pitas and stuff them with this dry lentil dish for my kids’ lunches.

    • 2 cups /420 g duhli moong dal (dried, split, and skinned green dal), picked over and washed (they look yellow)
    • 3 cassia or bay leaves
    • 2 whole cloves
    • 1 (3-inch/ 8-cm) stick cinnamon
    • 3 whole dried red chiles
    • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 3 cups /710 mL water
    • 3 tablespoons /45 mL ghee or vegetable oil
    • 1 pinch hing (asafetida)
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 1 medium yellow or red onion, diced
    • 2 teaspoons plus 1 pinch salt, divided
    • 1 tablespoon grated or minced ginger
    • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or grated
    • 4 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and chopped
    • 1 teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder)
    • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • Juice of ½ lemon
    • ½ cup /10 g fresh cilantro, minced
    • Roti or Naan, for serving (optional)
    • Tortilla wrap or pita, for serving (optional)
    • Hummus, for serving (optional)
    • Chopped onion, tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado, for garnish (optional)
    1. Combine the dal, cassia leaves, cloves, cinnamon, dried chiles, turmeric, and water in a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L (or larger) stockpot or Dutch oven over medium–high heat and bring to a boil. Typically, a frothy film will form over the dal as they boil—just skim off and discard it.
    2. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer, partially covered, for 11 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover completely, and set aside for 5 minutes, allowing the dal to absorb the extra moisture.
    3. Carefully remove and discard the whole spices. Stir gently. The dal should be al dente—firm, but cooked through. Cover and set aside to cool slightly while you prep the remaining ingredients.
    4. In an 8-inch / 20-cm frying pan over medium–high heat, warm the ghee. Add the hing and cumin seeds and cook for 40 seconds, until the cumin seeds sizzle and turn reddish-brown.
    5. Add the onion and the pinch of salt to the frying pan. Cook for 2 minutes, until slightly browned. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
    6. Add the fresh chiles, amchur, Garam Masala, coriander, and red chile powder. Cook for 5 to 10 seconds and remove from the heat.
    7. Transfer the contents of the frying pan to the stockpot containing the dal. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, the lemon juice, and the cilantro and stir carefully, taking care not to break down the dal too much.
    8. Serve traditionally, with the Roti or Naan, or as a wrap in a tortilla or stuffed in a pita smeared with a little hummus and garnished with the onion, tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

© 2016 Alta Editions LLC.