This is my hands down favorite daal to make! It tastes amazing with a relatively small amount of spices (for an Indian dish), and because it uses red lentils, it is quick to make! Red lentils do not require soaking, because they cook quickly (aside from their flavor, this is why I love them!) This dish also doesn’t require chopping anything so it’s my favorite lazy dinner meal.
The only ingredient in this daal that actually requires prepping is grating the ginger. Seriously Indian food could not get easier than this, so if you are new to Indian cooking, this is a great starter recipe. If you are an Indian cooking veteran, this daal is a hit with my family of seasoned Indian food eaters!
The wonderful flavor comes from frying whole spices (cumin, cardamom, cinnamon stick and bay leaves) before adding in any other ingredients. This is a typical technique used in Indian cooking, and super easy to do right in the same pan you are going to cook the dish in.
Then you add in the rinsed lentils.
Then the water and finally the ground spices (in this case, simply turmeric/salt).
I started cooking Indian food because my daughter, during her eating-isn’t-for-me phase, would always eat at my mom’s place (which by default means Indian food). I’m not 100% sure it was because of the food itself, or whether eating at a table full of people was more interesting, but either way, she was eating homemade nutrient dense food like she rarely did at home, and that’s when I knew I had to start making daal myself, and boy am I glad I did! I am so glad that my cooking game has elevated to this being a “lazy day” recipe, and once you make this a few times, you will totally know how I feel!
Oh, and daal is a great place for added veggies! Just chop up about a cup of veggies of choice and toss in during cooking. My favorite daal add-ins are zuchinni or broccoli, which can be added in with the lentils and spinach which should be mixed in at the end of cooking.
- 1 cup masoor daal (red lentils) rinsed
- 1 inch knob ginger, finely grated
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp cardamom seeds, slightly crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick (~ 2 inches)
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 4 cups water
- Put a medium pot over medium high heat and add oil
- Once hot, add in cumin, cardamom, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Stir and cook until cumin browns a little
- Add in grated ginger, and stir continuously for about 10-15 seconds
- Add in lentils, 4 cups water, turmeric and salt
- Bring to a boil, an then cover and cook on medium/low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes
- Once lentils are tender (easily squished or easily mashed in the mouth) the daal is ready! If they aren't getting tender, add more water and continue cooking.
- Remove bay leaves and cinnamon sticks and blend to a smooth puree if desired.
An immersion blender would be excellent for this.
- Serve alone, or over rice or quinoa garnished with cilantro and lime juice, if desired. I usually don't add cilantro or lime, but this is a common way to eat daal.