Graduation [Yellow Daal]

I’m done my undergrad!!!

For me, that’s a Bachelor of Journalism with a double major in Journalism and English.

Finishing is an altogether sweet experience for me, as I have faced challenges — financial, personal — that did not allow me to finish on time in four years. But I’ve done it in five. I emerge debt-free.

There’s only one thing I’ll miss about Carleton University — my professor and  boss in Centretown News, Klaus Pohle. Thank you, Klaus, for being such a great boss and for always taking good care of me.

Such special times can call for special food, but I’m moving in the opposite direction.

Soaking the daal.

A medley.

Yellow daal is the most simple and delicious of everyday foods.

Daal are hulled and split  lentils, peas or beans.

I use three types of daal in my recipe for yellow daal.

Chenna daal.

Chenna daal are made from black chickpeas. Chenna daal hold their shape well and add texture to this dish. They have a distinctly sweet and nutty flavour. Toasted chenna daal are often added to coconut chutneys to give them a toasted nut flavour.

Masoor daal.

Masoor daal are tiny red lentils. They break down quickly and turn yellow when cooked. In this dish, masoor daal act as the base.

Toor daal.

Toor daal (also know as Tuvar daal) are split pigeon peas. They break down when cooked, but not as quickly as masoor daal. I find they have a smoother texture when cooked than masoor daal do.

Yellow Daal

1 cup masoor daal
½ cup chenna daal
½ cup toor daal
11 cups water
4 tbsp crushed tomato
2 tbsp ginger, pounded
2 tbsp garlic, pounded
1 medium onion, diced fine
1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
¼ tsp asafoetida powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 ½ green chilies, chopped fine
3 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ tsp aamchur (mango) powder
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped fine
4 tbsp ghee
salt, to taste

Rinse the three types of lentils separately until water runs clear. Soak each daal for 1.5 hours. Drain water. Mix three types of soaked daal together. Set aside.

Melt ghee over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Fry cumin seeds in ghee until they splutter. Sprinkle asafoetida powder. Stir briskly. Add onion and fry until translucent, stirring frequently. Add ginger and garlic. Stir and fry until the raw garlic smell disappears, about 3 minutes.

Add turmeric and ground coriander. Stir and fry until the spices release their aroma, about 1 minute.

Add lentils, crushed tomatoes, water and 1 tbsp salt. Stir well.

Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Watch carefully for the first 10-15 minutes. You need to skim the scum that comes to the top. Try not to stir the mixture too vigorously for the first 15 minutes. Stirring re-incorporates scum. Only stir to prevent lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Stir well and cover the pot. Cook. Stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Uncover. Add the chopped green chili.

Cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. The daal is done when all of the masoor daal have disintegrated and only the chenna daal hold their shape.

Stir in the lemon juice and aamchur powder. Adjust salt to taste.

Stir in the chopped cilantro right before serving. Garnish with extra chopped cilantro, diced tomato and green chili.

Serve with basmati rice or rotis.

*This can be made into Daal Palak, or yellow daal with spinach, by putting one cup loosely packed baby spinach in the bottom of each person’s serving bowl, pouring the yellow daal over the spinach and stirring the spinach and daal together.

Turmeric is always used in moderation. Don’t be tempted to add extra turmeric to the daal to give it a stronger yellow colour. As the masoor daal break down, they turn bright yellow and will provide all of the extra colour that you need.


6 thoughts on “Graduation [Yellow Daal]

  1. Pingback: Wordless Wednesdays [Mattar Pulao] | Zahlicious

  2. Pingback: Culture Mint | Yellow Daal

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