mixed dal soup

mixed dal soup & a goose called kangaroo

11th July 2010

Summer is here in Israel and it is so very, very hot. I  pick all the vegetables that I need for the day from the garden in the early morning. Everything looks fresh, green and moist from the early morning watering and the soft, early morning temperatures.  This is also the time before the harshness of the sun wilts everything.  I have been spending a lot of dedicated, late afternoons in the garden giving it all its tender, nurturing attention it needs and in return, it has given me so much wonderful abundance in so many ways.

If I blink, my zucchini and cucumbers double in size.  I have an absolute tangle of many red, happy, plump tomatoes smiling at me from their vines.  My favourites are the yellow teardrop tomatoes that add a glorious colour to a salad.  Lots of kale, parsley, silverbeet, swiss chard, baby corn and big corn, as well.  The peppermint and mint have just gone crazy.  Basil, the green and purple variety.  Snake beans and French.  Big round balls of melon.  Red and green capsicum. Chamomile, that I dried the other day.  And so much more hiding away.  I have managed to keep the lettuces growing by planting them in the shade of other plants or under the many colourful flowers that peek out amongst the vegetables.  And, of course, there are the sunflowers that….well, they are just the sun themselves.

This is our goose who has a soft spot for my son.  My son named him `kangaroo´ because he was born just after we had come back from a holiday in Australia.

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mixed dal soup with slivers of ginger

Serves 6

This mixed dal was inspired by a recipe from ‘The Vegetarian Table’ by Yamuna Devi.  I was actually following the recipe when I discovered I had misinterpreted the dal she used and instead created a different version which I love.  Its flavours centre on equal portions of three dal – whole mung dal, yellow toor dal and green split pea.  Simple and nutritious.  Hearty and clean.  It can be served as a soup or as a dal served with rice.  What I like most about this mixed dal soup is the slivers of ginger and its unique lemony taste.  The ginger gives á nice warm surprise when you bite into them.

Ideally, it is best to soak all three dal overnight.  This will cut down on the cooking time and aid in better digestion, but it is also fine not to if you are cooking spontaneously, as I  find I do a lot.


½ cup each whole mung beans, toor dal (yellow lentils) and green split pea

8 – 9 cups water

1½ inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slivers

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 bay leaf

2 Tbsp ghee – divided

1½ Tbsp cumin seeds

1½ Tbsp ground coriander

2 large, vine-ripened tomatoes, diced

1 hot green chilli, seeded and cut into slivers

a handful of trimmed coriander leaves, a few reserved for garnishing

juice of 1 lemon

1½ tsp fine rock salt


1.  In a large pot, rinse the dal until the water runs clear (don’t forget to save this water for the garden), drain, add 8 cups water, bring to boil, skim off the foam that collects on the surface, then add the ginger, turmeric, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon ghee.

2.  Gently boil, almost covered, until the dal is soft and broken down; approximately 45min – 1 hour (If the dal have been soaked, it will take much less time).  Season with salt.

3.  Heat remaining ghee, stir in the cumin seeds; fry until fragrant and golden, then add ground coriander, tomatoes and chilli – fry until pulpy and thick, about 5 – 7 minutes.

4.  Pour 1 cup cooked dal into the pan, toss in fresh coriander, and stir to mix the ingredients, then add this mixture back into the soup.

5.  Stir in the lemon juice and season with more salt, if needed.

When serving, garnish with fresh coriander and drizzle with ghee.

Shared goodness from Stacey

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