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Dal with Cucumber Cream and Pita Chips

Yield 4 servings
There are many ways to serve dal, an Indian dish of pureed lentils, peas, or beans. This version adds a cool, creamy cucumber topping to balance the spiciness. It can be made in advance; add two tablespoons hot water, and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. The cucumber cream and chips may also be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.


  • Pita chips:
  • 2 (6-inch) whole wheat pitas
  • Cucumber cream:
  • 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped seeded peeled cucumber
  • Dash of salt
  • Dal:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon bottled ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World)
  • 3 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
  • 1 1/4 cups dried lentils
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped plum tomato
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Nutrition Information

  • calories 384
  • caloriesfromfat 14 %
  • fat 6 g
  • satfat 1.6 g
  • monofat 2.7 g
  • polyfat 0.8 g
  • protein 20.2 g
  • carbohydrate 63.3 g
  • fiber 21.1 g
  • cholesterol 7 mg
  • iron 6.3 mg
  • sodium 708 mg
  • calcium 81 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.

  2. To prepare pita chips, split pitas; cut each half into 8 wedges. Arrange wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until crisp. Cool completely on baking sheet.

  3. To prepare cucumber cream, place spinach and sour cream in a food processor; process until smooth. Place spinach mixture in a small bowl; stir in cucumber and dash of salt. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

  4. To prepare dal, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds; cook 2 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. Stir in onion, garlic, red pepper, turmeric, and ginger; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, lentils, and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are very tender, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer 20 minutes or until thick and creamy, stirring occasionally with a whisk. Remove from heat. Stir in tomato, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and juice. Spoon about 3/4 cup dal into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 3 tablespoons cucumber cream and 8 pita chips.