This is a flexible recipe that allows you to play around with new spices, aromatics, or vegetables. You can use fennel seeds in place of the cumin seeds; an onion in place of shallots; or green beans, potatoes, or rinsed and drained canned chickpeas in place of the vegetables. Serve over fluffy rice with a green salad to round out the meal.
1 1/2 cups split hulled mung dal or masoor (red) dal, rinsed and drained
6 cups water
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 bay leaves
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 dried small hot red chiles, stemmed
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup cauliflower florets
3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
6 lime wedges (optional)
How to Make It
Combine dal and 6 cups water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Stir in turmeric, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick; partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Keep warm.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds; cook 1 minute or until seeds pop, stirring constantly. Add ginger and next 4 ingredients (through chiles); cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add shallots; cook 3 minutes or until shallots are tender, stirring frequently. Add carrot and cauliflower; cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Add 1 cup dal mixture and remaining 1 teaspoon salt to carrot mixture; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add carrot mixture to remaining dal mixture; bring to a boil. Cook 40 minutes or until mixture thickens. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.