The Recipe - Toor Dal

Indian Toor Dal (Split Yellow Pigeon Peas) and Rice

As Shweta Galway, from Umreth, Gujarat State, India, taught Lindsay Sterling in Freeport, Maine May 2014

Note: You'll need to go to an Indian market for some key ingredients. See at bottom to find one near you.

Cooking Time: 1 hr
Serves: 4

1 cup toor dal
2 cups basmati rice
1/2 tsp medium Indian chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp tamarind paste (sub. lemon juice)
3 Tbsp jaggery (Indian sugar cane juice), or substitute brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
10-12 fenugreek seeds (methi)
3 or more dried Indian red chilis
2 curry leaves (optional)
small handful peanuts (skins on if you can find them)
1/2 tsp Indian chili powder (optional)

1. Soak toor dal (split yellow pigeon peas) for 8 hours or over night. If you can't soak them, no worries. Just cook them longer on the stove.

2. Add dal and 3 cups water in a pressure cooker or regular pot with lid. Cook until soft and thick. In a regular pot this could take as long as 45 min to an hour and a half depending on how dry the beans are. Add more water as necessary to keep them from burning and to keep a soup-y texture. In a pressure cooker it should take about 15 minutes to cook once the pot is up to pressure. Cook basmati rice as you normally would. 

3. In a medium pot, heat the cooked toor dal and add chili powder, turmeric, coriadander, cumin, salt, tamarind paste, and jaggery. You can use a grater to get the amount of jaggery you need from the hard block. If your tamarind is in dried block form, soak the amount you need to make it soft. If it comes as a paste - just scoop it from the jar. 

4. In a small pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chilis, curry leaves, peanuts, and chili powder.  Let them cook until they stop sizzling. 

5. Pour spice-infused oil into lentils. Add lemon juice as desired. Add a little water until you have desired consistency. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.

6. Serve over a bowl of rice along with roti and cauliflower and potatoes.

Where to Get Ingredients

Find the nearest Indian market by state here. Here are the ones I've heard of:

Masala Mahal
798 Main Street
South Portland, ME

Shere Punjab (store above the restaurant)
46 Main St.
Brunswick, ME 04011

Subzi Mandi
1518 Oak Tree Rd. #B
Iselin, NJ

Waltham India Grocery
337 Moody St. 
Waltham, MA

Copywriting Lindsay Sterling 2014