Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Simple Dal (Yellow Split Peas Stew) With Mustard Seeds

Simple Toor Dal

This is a very simple and delicious dish made with skinless Toor dal that can be served alone as a soup or with any kind of rice or breads. Toor dal looks a little like yellow split peas and either the yellow or green split peas can be substituted for the toor dal. The use of a pressure cooker to cook the dal speeds up the process considerably. All one needs to complete the meal is a side vegetable or salad, rice or any kind of bread and a bowl of yogurt.


1 cup Toor Dal
1/2 tsp ground Turmeric
1 tsp Salt or to taste


1 Tbsp Ghee or Oil
1/2 tsp brown Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 or 2 pinches Asafoetida
1 green Chili, such as Serrano or Jalapeno
1 sprig Curry Leaves
4 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro Leaves (Dhania/Kothumalli)


Check for stones then wash the dal. Cook in water to cover with the salt and turmeric until very soft and creamy. Thin the dal with boiling water if a thinner dish is preferred. Set aside.

Prepare tadka: Heat the ghee or oil in a small pan, add the seeds and cover. When the seeds slow down popping, quickly add asafoetida, stir then add the chili and curry leaves. Cover quickly to avoid hot oil splashing as the fresh chili and curry leaves hit the hot oil. Cook for a few seconds and then remove from heat.

Stir the tadka into the dal and mix well.

Stir in the chopped cilantro leaves and serve hot with any type of flat breads like chapati, naan, etc or over hot rice.

Serve with lime or lemon wedges to squeeze over individual servings according to taste. Enjoy!


A small chopped onion may be stirred in with a pinch of salt at the same time as the green chili, etc. You may need to increase the amount of ghee or oil to 2 Tbsp to keep the onions from sticking. One large coarsely chopped tomato may be added to the soft onions and cooked until they are soft before adding to the dal.

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