Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Easy Peasy Dhal

I am a huge fan of Roti Canai with Dhal.
Roti Canai is a flaky, flat bread made of flour and margerine. It is also called Roti Pratha in some regions. I found frozen Roti Pratha at the grocery store the other day. I bought a packet, with the hopes that I would learn to make Dhal (something like lentil curry) someday.
Well, having a packet of frozen Roti Pratha staring back at you everytime I open the freezer to take out something really motivated me to go look for the recipe for dhal. Pre-requisite: It has to be easy and I must recognize the ingredients.
It wasnt so difficult to find, actually. There are many versions for this Dhal. I chose one and here I present the modified, tried and tested version.

Note: I asked Taufik to go buy kacang dal (lentils) and he came home complaining about how everything looked the same to him and handed me a packet of split mung beans (kacang hijau)) instead. I went ahead and used the split mung beans (the original recipe did say you can actually use any kind of beans, even mix them up if you want) and it turned out okay even though it lacked the texture of lentils (I particularly love eating whole lentils in a dhal)( as opposed to mushy dhal).
It takes a while to boil the beans till tender, but otherwise, the other parts didnt take more than half an hour. I guess you can boil the beans in advance and continue to finish off the dish at a later time.

Easy Peasy Dhal

1/2 cup lentils/split mung beans (or a mixture of both)
4 cups water
1 chicken stock cube
1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
1 large onion (chopped finely)
1 clove garlic
1/2 inch ginger (pound together with garlic)
1/2 teaspoon cumin (can be left whole, or pounded for a more intense flavour)
1 stalk curry leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon curry powder (Add more if you like it spicy, can also substitute all or part with chilli powder)
1 cup of your choice of cubed vegetables (Optional. I used eggplant and carrots. Potatoes works well too)

In a pot, boil the lentils in water till tender. Remove any scum that floats to the top. Add the chicken stock cube and the tumeric powder, simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat.
In a different pan, saute the chopped onions, the pounded garlic and ginger, cumin, the curry leaves and curry powder in a little bit of oil. The original recipe specified using ghee but I didn't have any. Saute till fragrant. Add some liquid from the boiled lentils.
Add in the vegetables and let simmer till the vegetables are almost tender. (Add more of the liquid if necessary). Once the vegetables are tender, transfer everything into the pot of lentils.
Stir, then season with salt&pepper to taste.

Can be eaten with Roti Pratha, toast (my kids loved it), or as an accompaniment for your white rice and spicy grilled meat.

Sorry no pictures, but it will look really yellow and mushy and ugly, but tastes mm mmm goood.

I kept leftovers in a tupperware in the freezer and defrosted and reheated in a pot with a little bit of water whenever I feel like having summore.

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