Red lentils, masoor in India, are actually pink in colour and turn yellow when cooked. Many kinds of split peas and beans are used to make dal, which can be served with lots of liquid to give a soupy consistency or have the liquid reduced to deliver a drier finish. In this version two flavouring stages are used. Fresh ginger, garlic and a bay leaf are boiled with the lentils, while the spices and onions are cooked separately and added to the dal only prior to serving.
Start by washing the lentils in a sieve under running cold water. Put them in a pan and cover with
Put the sunflower oil in a pan and fry the sliced onion over a moderate heat until golden brown. Add the ground coriander, ground cumin and black mustard seeds. Stir in and fry for 2 minutes.
Stir into the dal, remove the pan from the heat and put a lid on it. Leave to stand for 4 minutes, before serving with lots of fresh coriander leaves sprinkled over.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.