In case you didn't notice, we love dal around the Plate and Pour kitchen. You can find dal fry on most Indian restaurant menus, and it is quick and easy to make at home, especially if you have a pressure cooker.
I like to use only toor dal, yellow pigeon pea lentils, for dal fry, but you could use any combination of dal. There is no need to soak toor dal overnight, and from start to finish the dal fry can be made in 30 minutes, making it perfect for a quick wholesome meal after a long day at work.
So dal fry is wholesome, delicious, and easy, it's no wonder that it is part of our regular weeknight dinner rotation. And for those of you looking for a meatless meal, dal is a wonderful way to make sure you are able to get enough protein.
Temper the whole spices, ginger, green chile, onion, and finally the ground spices.
1 cup toor dal
2 dried red chile peppers
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf (dried)
pinch of asofetida
1 green chile, stemmed and sliced in rounds (if using a jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and mince finely)
1" ginger, peeled and minced finely or shredded
1/4 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
optional 1 roma tomato, diced
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil or ghee
1 to 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, plus extra wedges for serving
cilantro, for garnish
Wash and rinse the toor dal. Pressure cook with 1 1/2 cups of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not overcook, the dal should keep its shape and not be a mush.
In a medium skillet, heat oil and/or ghee. Add cumin, dried red chile peppers, and cloves, cooking until fragrant. Add pinch of asofetida and bay leaf, cook for 30 seconds. Add onions, cook for 3 minutes until soft. Do not let brown. Add green chiles and ginger, cooking for 30 seconds.
Add turmeric, red cayenne pepper, ground cumin, nd ground coriander, stir until fragrant about 1 minute. Pour over dal, stir to combine. If using tomato, add to the dal. Add salt and bring to a simmer, cooking about 5 minutes to let the flavors meld together. Add lemon juice, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve hot. Garnish with cilantro and pass extra lemon wedges at the table.