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In the winter months, it is important to eat warming, hearty foods that keep us strong and healthy when the weather is coldest. In India, daal is a staple dish during these months. It has a heating tendency on the body, is easy to digest, and is full of protein to keep the gardener working in difficult weather. Daal is extremely easy to make. Most Indian families will eat daal every night, along with rice and a vegetable dish. We hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do. It has kept our family warm for many centuries.

Ingredients

Step 0 - Ingredients

Chef’s Note: This dish can be made with any seasonal vegetables. We used what we had in the garden and from the farmer’s market. It’s a good idea to include a variety of colors.

For Cooking the Lentils
– 1 cup split mung bean (washed and cleaned – see video)
– 6 cups water
– 1.5 tbsp grated ginger
– 1 tsp turmeric powder

Spices
– 1 to 3 tbsp ghee or other high quality cooking oil
– 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
– 1 cup chopped onion
– 1 cup chopped tomato
– salt, to taste
– black pepper, to taste
-(optional) red chili powder, to taste

Vegetables
– 
2 cups chopped seasonal greens (tender greens are best – spinach, mustard, amaranth, mizuna etc.)
– 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

 

Directions

[two_third first]Step 1 - Slow Cook Daal[/two_third]

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Step 1. Slow Cook the Lentils (start in advance)

Place mung beans, water, turmeric powder, and grated ginger to your slow cooker. Set the slow cooker temperature to high, and cook for 6 hours.

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[two_third first]Step 2 - Daal finished cooking[/two_third]

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Step 2. Check Lentils

After lentils have been cooking for 6 hours, check their consistency. The lentils should be dissolved and have a creamy texture. Add salt, black pepper, and red chili powder (optional) to taste.

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[two_third first]Step 3 - Roast Jeera and Onion[/two_third]

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Step 3. Begin Cooking the Masala

Warm  a heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat. Once pan is warmed, add ghee (or other cooking oil) and whole cumin seeds. Roast cumin seeds until they are gold in color and their aroma is released (about 2 minutes). Now add the chopped onions and cook until edges are golden brown (see photo).

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[two_third first]Step 4 - Add Tomatoes[/two_third]

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Step 4. Adding the Tomatoes

Add chopped tomatoes and continue to stir mixture.

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[two_third first]Step 5 - Finish the Chonka[/two_third]

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Step 5. Finishing the Masala

Continue cooking Masala until tomatoes have completely melted and mixed in with onions and spices. You should see oil begin to separate from the mixture.

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[two_third first]Step 6 - Add Chonka to Daal[/two_third]

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Step 6. Add Masala to Daal (Lentils)

Slowly add your masala mixture to the cooked lentils. Mix thoroughly.

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[two_third first]Step 7 - Add Greens[/two_third]

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Step 7. Cooking Greens

Add chopped greens to the lentils in the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 10 to 20 minutes until greens are wilted.

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[two_third first]Step 9 - Plate[/two_third]

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Step 7. Garnish

Garnish daal with chopped cilantro and ghee or butter.

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Serving Suggestions

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Daal is traditionally eaten over rice (we prefer brown rice) or with traditional Indian flat breads (roti) along with a side of fresh yogurt and salad. Daal can also be eaten as a soup with a side of toast and salad. You can also serve it over a baked potato.