Monday, 18 March 2013

Recipe: Indian Daal

Indian Daal with rice and naan

At a trip to the Bulk Barn some mung beans caught my eye - I bought a cup or two to try a new experiment - Indian Daal. I used half french lentils and half mung beans in my recipe. I soaked about a cup of each together for about 24 hours which resulted in about 4 cups. I also had some thai chilis and shallots lying around I was intending to use for a curry. I used Indian ghee in my recipe but butter would also work just fine. Not pictured here is the coconut milk and fresh cilantro I added at the last minute to break up the spice a bit.

Ingredients for Daal

On Chef Michael's suggestion I store my ginger int he freezer and then use a microplane to mince the frozen ginger. The garlic, shallots and chilis I minced with my favourite extra-sharp Henckels knife (freshly sharpened!).

The next step is to saute the all the ingredients except the beans. I always heat up the pot for a few minutes so the ingredients don't stick. I got a little over-zealous this time though and ended up burning some of the spices. It gave the daal a bit of a nice smokey taste so I guess it was a bit of a happy accident. After the shallots are softened add the beans and water and simmer for about 30 minutes. I usually test out a few beans at the 20 minute mark to see if they need more time. In my case I ended up adding two more cups of water on top of the initial four. The beans and lentils should be soft like rice - lentils for daal are typically quite mushy (they're better that way anyway!). 

After they've reached what you deem to be the optimal consistency you can add a can of coconut milk and fresh chopped cilantro to taste and simmer to heat the coconut milk through. Serve over basmati rice and/or with naan. I've also taken to using the leftover daal as a vegetarian burrito filling for lunch. Just add some cheese, spinach and spicy chipotle hummus and you've got an impressive office lunch (it's been my lunch for the past two weeks - I think I need to try something new soon!).

Indian Daal birdseye view

Indian Daal (or Vegetarian Burrito Filling)


  • 3 Shallots minced
  • 2 Garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tbsp ginger minced
  • 2 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 Tbsp Tumeric
  • 1 Tsp Cayenne (to taste)
  • 1 Cup each dry lentils (I prefer French) and mung beans soaked in 4 cups of water for at least 4 hours 
  • 4-6 Cups Water
  • 1 Small can tomato paste
    • A handful of chopped coriander
    • 1 Can coconut milk
    1. Rince soaked beans and set aside.
    2. Heat up a large pot to low heat and add ghee.
    3. Saute the shallots and spices until softened.
    4. Add the beans and 4 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes on medium heat.
    5. Test out the lentils and add 2 more cups of water if necessary. Add the coconut milk and coriander and cook for 5-10 minutes.
    6. Serve over basmati rice or naan or use as a burrito filling.

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