285g moong dal, hulled and split
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 slices peeled fresh ginger, 2.5cm square and 3mm thick
1 teaspoon chopped fresh green coriander
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1/4–1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1.5 teaspoons salt
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
a pinch of ground asafetida or a tiny lump asafetida
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
lemon or lime wedges
Serve with plain rice, Kheema, and a vegetable for a simple meal.
Most meat and chicken dishes go well with this dal.
the essential madhur jaffrey
Clean and wash the dal thoroughly.
Put dal in a heavy-bottomed 3.4 litre pot, add 1.1 litres water, and bring to the boil.
Remove the froth and scum that collects at the top.
Now add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and cayenne pepper.
Cover, leaving the lid very slightly ajar, lower heat, and simmer gently for about 1.5 hours.
When dal is cooked, add the salt and lemon juice (it should be thicker than pea soup, but thinner than porridge).
In a 10-15cm frying-pan or small pot, heat the vegetable oil or ghee over a medium-high flame.
When hot, add the asafetida and cumin seeds.
As soon as the asafetida sizzles and expands and the cumin seeds turn dark (this will take only a few seconds), pour the oil and spices over the dal and serve. (Some people put the dal in a serving dish and then pour the oil and spices over it.)