So yesterday, I said I would continue with recipes today, and today, I will deliver. I'm starting off simple with Mountain Dal, which is basically yellow lentils.
I decided to make a bunch of vegetable dishes - almost all my favorite Indian dishes are vegetarian, probably because I've spent my life following my dad into kosher vegetarian Indian restaurants. Don't get me wrong, I love my lamb vindaloo and chicken tikka masala, but when it comes right down to it, give me some saag paneer (spinach and cheese) or a vegetable curry and I'm happy.
1 cup mung dal, washed and drained (I neither washed nor drained my lentils)
5 to 6 cups water
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt
2 to 3 dried red chilis
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 inch piece of cinnamon or cassia stick
seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
5 or 6 peppercorns
1 Tbs vegetable or mustard oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1. Put the dal into a large pot with 5 cups water and tumeric and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook partially covered for 30 to 40 minutes, until it's almost mushy. If it gets too thick for your taste, add more water.
2. Use your mortar and pestle to grind all remaining spices (except salt). What's a mortar and pestle?
You could also use a spice/coffee grinder if the mortar/pestle is too labor intensive. Or just use already ground chili powder/pepper/cinnamon, etc (I may have done that for some of the things - my mortar and pestle action is lacking).
3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat and stir-fry your onion for five minutes.
4. Add your spices and keep cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Add to the pot of dal and serve!