Wednesday, February 07, 2007

$38.89, Toor Dal, again!

Channa dal used to be my hands-down favorite, but I'm not so sure anymore after that last batch of toor dal. I think it was the addition of fennel to the tarka and the black cardamom to the pot. In total volume, neither spice contributes as much compared to the big three I use (cumin, coriander, and mustard seed), but in flavor they meld really well with the taste and texture of toor dal. I was in the mood to make things even fancier than last time. Rather than the basic recipe, I went with this instead:


1 lb dry toor dal / split pigeon peas
4 cups of water (add more as necessary while cooking according preferred texture)
1 tsp oil
1 heaping Tbsp of turmeric
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 whole cloves
2 crushed black cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick

1 Tbsp cumin seed
1 Tbsp mustard seed
1 Tbsp sesame seed
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp hing
2 bay leaves
2 - 4 Tbsp oil

1 Tbsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp cayenne
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika

Mix A well and bring to a rapid boil. The little bit of oil added to the water prevents foaming from getting out of control. I was able to take a shower while this was on a hard boil without any worries. Also, if you don't already have a garlic press, I highly recommend you get one. It's made it a lot easier to add fresh garlic to my meals.

After about 30 min or so, start checking the toor dal for tenderness. I've found that this bean can really vary on the amount of time it takes to cook according to how long it's been sitting in the pantry. Lower A to a simmer.

In a separate small sauce pan, saute B. This method of frying spices prior to inclusion in a dish is known as tarka / tempering / chaunk.

Once the mustard seeds begin to pop turn the heat off and add C. The ambient heat will quickly fry the ground spices. Cayenne and paprika can become very bitter if they burn, so stir everything rapidly, then add B & C to A.

Mix well, boil down to your preferred thickness, and serve with rice.

Verdant's Toor Dal

$0.00 (all from raiding the pantry)

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