Sneakily delicious dishes that bring all the omnivores to the yard! Look for the cookbook in 2010!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

White Girl Daal

Daal w/ Basmati Rice

In our household, Indian-inspired food is queen. Ever since he was 10 months old and had his first taste of channa masala, the Supertoddler has devoured Indian food like it was his last meal. I have a couple of good Indian cookbooks, and we have an amazing Indian restaurant in the area. Those things, paired with the emergency Amy's frozen Indian food dinner have been able to fulfill almost any need for the cuisine that we've had over the last couple of years. I've not really ventured off into my own territory, making my own creations using those flavorful ingredients...until now.

I've never found a daal recipe that I've been satisfied with. They always seem to come out very bland and lacking the umph daals have in restaurants. One night, when Supertoddler was begging for his beloved Indian food, I decided to try my hand at creating my own simple daal from quick-cooking red lentils. How hard could it be?

The resulting daal, although possibly not very authentic {I don't know, any seasoned Indian chefs, help me out here} was flavorful and rich, and the leftovers were lovely for days to come. It is now the Supertoddler's favorite dish, and he asks for it often. I present to you...White Girl Daal {so respectfully named on account of my inability to assure you of any degree of its authenticity}.

White Girl Daal
Makes 4-6 servings.

3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over
water {I'll explain amounts later}
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 14.5oz can diced tomatos, drained {or one large tomato, chopped}
2 tbsp canola or other mild-flavored oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
4 curry leaves, chopped {optional} - you can find these at an Indian market
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala {an Indian spice blend}
salt, to taste

1. In a medium pot, combine lentils, 1 1/2 cups of water, tumeric, and onion. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender and starting to break apart. During this simmering time, stir the lentils every few minutes, and if they look like they are getting low on water {and trust me, they will} add another half a cup. I honestly have no idea how much water I usually add to this, as it varies every time. Just keep an eye on it, trust yourself, and add water as you feel it is needed.

2. Add the tomato, and continue to simmer as you prepare the other ingredients.

3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, curry leaves {if using}, and spices. Sautee until the garlic is golden {but not burnt!}. Add this mixture to the lentils, and stir to combine.

4. Season with salt to taste, and allow to cook for another 5 minutes to blend flavors. Serve with rice or flatbread.


  1. Actually not too far off from the real thing, recipe-wise. There is a new indian vegan cookbook aptly titled, "The Indian Vegan Kitchen".. Has some great basic recipes.

  2. so delicious!!! Great food and lovely pictures as usually!