A touch of garlic can transform a simple dal to an exquisitely flavored delight. Light and soupy, lasooni dal (garlic-tempered dal) is the perfect accompaniment to rice/chapatis and a vegetable side dish.
This dal can use any of the light legumes – toor, moong or masoor – as its base. You could try a combination of different types of dals, too. [I like garlic tempering best with toor dal.]
- Dal (moong/toor/masoor) – 3/4 cup
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt – to taste
- Coriander leaves – 1 tablespoon, chopped
- Lime juice – 2 teaspoons
- Ghee – 1 teaspoon
For the tadka :
- Curry leaves – a few sprigs (10-15)
- Dry red chillies – 4
- Garlic – 2 heaped teaspoons, minced
- Asafoetida – a pinch
- Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Oil – 2 teaspoons
Tadka ingredients in the pic: minced garlic, dry red chilies, cumin seeds, curry leaves.
1. Boil the dal:
Wash the dal in several changes of water till the water runs clear. Soak the dal in two cups of water for 30 minutes.
Drain, wash again and put the dal in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water and half a teaspoon turmeric powder.
Pressure cook till the first whistle on high flame, then set the heat to low and cook for another two whistles. Go up another whistle if you are using toor dal.
Take the cooker off the fire and allow it to cool.
Open the lid when the stopper comes off naturally. Mash cooked dal gently using a ladle. Stir in salt to taste.
If you want the dal thinner, add more water and bring to a boil.
2. Do the tadka:
Tear each dry red chili into 3-4 pieces. Mince garlic.
Heat oil in a tadka ladle. When hot, set the heat to low and add the following in quick succession – cumin seeds, dry red chili pieces, asafoetida powder, minced garlic, curry leaves – let the garlic turn golden, constantly stirring to avoid burning.
As soon as the garlic turns golden, turn the tadka ladle into the pan with boiled dal.
Tip: After turning over the tadka into the dal, add a tablespoon of the hot dal to the tadka ladle to deglaze the ladle and use up all the tadka without wastage.
Cook the dal along with the garlic tadka for two minutes, to let the flavors infuse with the dal.
Stir into lasooni dal chopped coriander leaves and fresh lime juice. Ladle the dal into serving bowls and drop a bit of ghee into each bowl.
Serve lasooni dal hot with chapatis/rice and a vegetable side dish.
My meal below: brown rice, besan kundru and lasooni dal.
 If using moong dal, roast it before cooking for a richer flavor.
 If you’re new to Indian cooking, tadka is a technique you must master. Tadka involves quick frying of spices in hot oil, to temper the main dish. The trick is in frying just right – you don’t want the spices undercooked as they would taste bitter, and you don’t want them burnt either. The difference between the two states is a matter of seconds, and that’s where your skill / experience / alertness comes into play.