Cooking Spells

toil and trouble free yummylicious vegetarian concoctions

Black Lentil Dal Soup


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  • 2 cups black lentils
  • Tomatoes- ¾ cup pureed fresh tomatoes or pureed canned tomatoes
  • Salt 2 tsp (to taste)
  • Water ~ 5 to 5 ½ cups
  • Cumin Seeds- 1tsp
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • Coriander powder 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder 1 tsp
  • Cayenne pepper ½ tsp or to taste
  • Paprika ½ tsp
  • Turmeric Powder ½ tsp
  • Garam masala ½ tsp

Soak the Lentils overnight (if you’ll be using a slow cooker) OR soak the lentils for 30 minutes to an hour if using a pressure cooker.  The recipe that follows is for pressure cooker cooking.  If using a slow cooker you might have to replenish the water level as it evaporates. You want to cook the lentils until they slightly break down and thicken.

Rinse the lentils well and place with 5 ½ cups of water in the cooker.  Add the salt and pureed tomatoes. Place on medium heat and cook until steam is released.  You might have to adjust the heat between med to med high. Reduce to simmer for 3 more minutes. Turn off and keep the cooker aside to cool.

In a separate wok, heat2- 3 table spoons of vegetable oil.

Sprinkle in the cumin seeds and let them crackle a bit.

Add the diced onions and cook until slightly golden brown. Add more oil if required.

Add the chopped garlic and stir for a few seconds.

Reduce heat and add the coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper, paprika and stir quickly for a few seconds so it doesn’t burn.

Pour the cooked dal into this mixture and mix well. Allow to cook for 5 -7 more minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle ½ tsp of garam masala over the dal and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.  Let it sit for 7-10 minutes before serving. This will help it thicken so it’s not runny.

Serve over a bed of rice with a side of Cucumber Clery Raita.

NOTE: If you don’t have the spice powders (coriander, turmeric, cayenne, garam masala, cumin powder) you can use 2-3 teaspoons of curry powder.  The powders are readily available at Indian grocery stores in generous quantities and at reasonable prices.

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