Three-Lentil Dal

Dal, the Indian name for lentils, is also the word used to describe stewy Indian lentil dishes. This simple dal, from the Taj Lake Palace hotel, is finished with a cumin-and-coriander scented oil. The mix of lentils—earthy split peas, nutty toor dal (pigeon peas are a good substitute) and creamy red lentils—add complexity to the dish.

Yield: 6
Recipe from Food & Wine

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup yellow split peas (4 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup toor dal, dried split pigeon peas (4 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup dried red lentils (4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Preparation

  1. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, cover the yellow split peas, toor dal and red lentils with 1 1/2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the red lentils and toor dal break down and the split yellow peas are tender, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and cook over moderate heat until they darken, 1 minute. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 6 minutes. Add the coriander, turmeric and cayenne and cook, stirring a few times, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the tomato and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the dal and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, 3 minutes. Season with salt. Stir in the butter and cilantro and serve.
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