Lentils/Daal/Dal is a preperation of pulses which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split.The word dāl derives from the Sanskrit verbal root dal- ‘to split’.It also refers to the thick stew prepared from these pulses and is an important ingredient to many recipes.
Dal is a staple food for vegeterians.The high protein content in lentils make them an excellent meat substitute.It is regularly eaten with rice and vegetables in southern India, and with both rice and roti (wheat-based flat bread) throughout northern India.
Although dal generally refers to split pulses, whole pulses are known as sabūt dal and split pulses as dhuli dal (with or without skin).The hulling of a pulse is intended to improve digestibility and palatability, but as with milling of whole grains into refined grains, affects the nutrition provided by the dish, reducing dietary fiber content.Pulses with their outer hull intact are also quite popular in India as the main cuisine.
The delicious Rajma Chawal (Red Kidney bean curry & Rice) and Chole Chawal (Chick Peas curry & Rice)needs no introduction to most Indians. Masoor Chawal is another addition to the category as the meal is wholesome,nutritious and equally appetizing.Try this recipe of the quick,simple yet delectable Masoor Chawal on lazy Sunday mornings and impress your loved ones…
Sabut Masoor dal/Whole Brown Lentil 1 cup
Onion 2 finely chopped
Garlic 3-4 cloves
Ginger i inch piece
Green chilli 1
Tamarind paste 1-2 tablespoon
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Garam masala 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp for tempering
Ghee/butter 2-3 tablespoon
Water as required
Chopped Coriander/Cilantro for garnishing
Heat water in pressure cooker(about 3 cups)add washed masoor dal to the cooker when water starts boiling.Add salt and turmeric powder to dal and close the lid.
Allow the cooker to whistle thrice.Slow down the flame and take two more whistles.Turn off the flame and open the lid when the pressure is released.Add more water(if required)to the consistency of dal.
For the chaunk/tempering/tadka
Grind together ginger,garlic & green chilli to a paste using the electric grinder.
Heat ghee in a pan.Add cumin seeds and allow them to splutter.
Add Ginger-garlic-chilli paste and cook for two minutes.
Now add onions and saute till the onion turns golden brown.
Add red chilli powder and garam masala.Mix well.(If you dont have garam masala handy with you, add a stick of cinnamon,one bay leaf and two cloves to the ghee /butter while adding cumin seeds )
Add this tempering to the dal.Also add tamarind paste to the dal(1-2 tablespoon as per taste).Mix well and allow the dal to boil over slow flame.
When done garnish with coriander leaves (or any garnish of your choice) and serve hot with Plain Rice/Jeera Rice(Rice flavoured with cumin seeds)/Roti(Indian Bread)/Parantha(Indian Bread).
(Information source for dal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dal).For more information on benefits of lentils refer http://nutrition.indobase.com/articles/lentils-nutrition.php