toor dal

a soothing broth and vegetable palya in one dish

15th May 2022

The liquid from the cooked dal is used as a soothing broth, while the drained and cooked dal is seasoned into a vibrant green palya. The broth is a soothing treat, with the addition of lemon juice and pepper. If you are feeling slightly under the weather, this broth is heavenly.

tips

  • Toor dal can be found in any Indian supermarket. I use a brand which I buy in Portugal, it is smaller and more polished with a quick cooking time. The toor dal variety purchased from the Indian store takes a much longer time to soften. With this in mind, you may need to experiment and cook the dals separately until you are familiar with each of their individual cooking times, or pre-soak the toor dal and cook together for 30 minutes, adding more water as needed. You don’t want the dal to be mushy, but rather hold its shape.
  • For quick preparation, the vegetables can be added to the simmering dal. I like to cook them separately to keep the vegetables vibrant.

a soothing broth and vegetable palya from one dish

preparation – 40 minutes

palya serves – 3 persons

broth serves – 2 cups

Recipe adapted from ‘Mysore Style Cooking’ by V. Sandhya

ingredients

¼ cup/50g whole moong dal

¼ cup/50g toor dal 

5 cups/1.4 litres water

1 flat tsp fine rock salt

voggarane

1 Tbsp ghee/peanut oil

½ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

1 fresh red/ green chilli, seeds removed, roughly chopped

8-10 fresh curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

1 ½ cups/200g green beans, finely chopped 

¼ cup/50g water, more as needed

1 bunch /50g dill, finely chopped stems and all

2 Tbsp dried/freshly grated coconut

2 Tbsp lemon juice, plus more for the broth

preparation 

1.  Cook the dal: In a pot, place the rinsed moong dal and water, bring to boil, turn down the heat, then simmer rapidly, uncovered for 18 minutes, add the rinsed toor dal and simmer for a further 10 mins, or until they just become soft, but still hold their shape. As mentioned above depending on the variety of toor dal, you may need to cook both dals together for 30 minutes or experiment separately until you are familiar with each of their individual cooking times.

2.  Add salt to taste, then drain the broth from the cooked dals and set both broth and dal aside.

3.  Prepare the voggarane: Heat ghee in a pan, add the mustard seeds; when the seeds start to pop and splutter, add asafoetida, cumin and chilli – fry until fragrant, then add the curry leaves and turmeric – fry few seconds. Add the beans, stir to combine with the spices. Pour in the water and simmer until the beans are cooked and the water has evaporated –  approx 4 – 5 minutes, you may need to add more water 1 tablespoon at a time.

4.  Turn off the heat, add the dill – mix well until combined with the spices and slightly wilted, add the cooked dal, coconut and lemon juice. Stir to combine, taste adding more salt and lemon, then transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with rice and drizzle with ghee.

5. To the remaining broth, add ⅛ tsp freshly ground pepper and 1 Tbsp lemon juice, taste adding more salt and lemon, as needed.

favourite rasam recipe – three ways

22nd August 2018

This is a recipe I fall back on as a twice or thrice weekly meal. It is the same recipe, same measurement of spices, using a variety of different dal and vegetables. The first two recipes include grinding the coconut-rasam mixture, while the third does not, making it a quicker dish to prepare. It’s a good example of how one recipe can be used in many variations to give a totally different dish.

In these three recipes, I alternate between using mung beans(whole moong dal)toor dal and split yellow moong dal. The rasam powder can be replaced with sambar powder in all dishes.

whole mung beans with tomatoes & chard

Preparation 40 minutes

Serves 3 – 4

ingredients 

½ cup/100g mung beans(whole moong dal)

4 cups water/1-litre

1 medium tomato(100g), finely chopped

1 cup/50g tightly packed chard leaves (can use kale/fenugreek)

2 heaped Tbsp brown sugar/jaggery

1 heaped tsp rock salt

rasam-coconut mix

¼ cup/20g dried shredded unsweetened coconut

1½ heaped tsp rasam powder (mildly spiced) 

½ – 1 tsp tamarind paste 

1½ cups/375ml water

voggarane 

2 tsp ghee

½ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ heaped tsp asafoetida powder

10 fresh curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

preparation

1.  In a heavy-based saucepan, wash the dal until the water runs clear, drain, pour in 4 cups water into the saucepan and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer.

2.  After 10 minutes, add the tomatoes – simmer until dal is soft and has broken down – approximately 30 minutes. 

prepare the rasam-coconut mix

3.  In an upright blender, add the dried coconut, rasam powder, tamarind, and ¾ cup water, blend for 1 minute, until smooth, then add to dal rinsing the blender clean with the remaining ¾ cup water.

prepare the voggarane 

4.  In a small pan over medium heat, heat the ghee, add mustard seeds; when the seeds turn grey and pop, add the curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric powder, swishing the pan around for the spices to fry evenly.

5.  Pour the voggarane into the dal, add salt, jaggery and stir in the chopped chard leaves.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes for the flavours to settle, the chard to soften and dal to thicken slightly.  Taste adding more sweet, tamarind or salt.

Serve with rice, yoghurt and drizzle with a spoon of ghee.

split moong dal with charred okra & fenugreek

Preparation – 40 minutes

Serves 3 – 4

This dish requires frying the vegetables, in this case, the okra, in the voggarane until nicely charred, then stirring it through the cooked dal when ready to serve. I like to keep 1 cup of the okra aside to use as garnish. This method of cooking works very nicely with green beans as well.

ingredients 

½ cup/100g split yellow moong dal

3 cups/750ml water

2 heaped Tbsp sugar/jaggery

1 heaped tsp rock salt

rasam-coconut mix

¼ cup/20g dried shredded unsweetened coconut

1½ heaped tsp rasam powder (moderately spiced)

½ – 1 tsp tamarind paste 

1½ cups/375ml water

voggarane 

3 Tbsp peanut oil

½ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

1 heaped Tbsp channa dal

1 heaped tsp urad dal

400g okra

⅛ heaped tsp asafoetida powder

15 fresh curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

2 cups fresh fenugreek/kale/ coriander leaves – chopped

preparation

1.  In a heavy-based saucepan, wash the dal until the water runs clear, drain, pour in 3 cups water and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer – simmer until dal is soft and has broken down – approximately 30 minutes.

2. Top, tail the okra and cut into 1 cm pieces and measure out the remaining ingredients – set aside.

prepare the rasam-coconut mix

3.  In an upright blender, add the rasam powder, tamarind, dried coconut and ¾ cup water, blend for 1 minute, until smooth, add to the dal rinsing the blender clean with the remaining ¾ cup water.

prepare the voggarane 

4.  In a skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and mustard seeds; when the seeds turn grey and pop, add the channa and urad dal, fry until both dals are golden-brown.

5.  Add the okra and keep everything moving in the pan until all the okra starts to char around the edges – approximately 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and fold in the chopped fenugreek leaves.

6.  Set aside 1 cup of the cooked okra for garnishing and stir the remaining into the dal.  Taste adding more sweet, sour or salt.

This dish is best served immediately as the okra can become gooey, otherwise, keep the okra and dal separate until ready to serve. Serve with rice and drizzle with ghee.

toor dal with carrots and green beans

Preparation 40 minutes

Serves 3 – 4

This is the same procedure, using a different dal and vegetables, however, the rasam and coconut are added directly into the dish, no grinding required.

ingredients 

½ cup/100g dal (¼ cup toor dal + ¼ cup split moong dal)

cups /1-litre water

1 medium/100g carrot – finely chopped

1½ cups finely chopped beans (can use cabbage in Winter)

¼ cup/20g dried shredded coconut

1 ½ heaped tsp rasam powder (mildly spiced) 

½ – 1 tsp tamarind paste 

2 heaped Tbsp sugar/jaggery

1 heaped tsp rock salt

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped

voggarane 

2 tsp ghee

½ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ heaped tsp asafoetida powder

10 fresh curry leaves

heaped tsp turmeric powder

preparation 

1.  In a heavy-based saucepan, wash dal until the water runs clear, drain, then pour in 4 cups water, bring to boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer. 

2.  After 10 minutes, add the carrot and green beans, simmer until dal is soft and has broken down – approximately 30 minutes.

3.  Stir in the coconut, rasam powder, tamarind, salt and jaggery, mix to combine well – simmer for 4 -5 minutes.

prepare the voggarane 

4.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds turn grey and pop, add the asafoetida, curry leaves and turmeric, swishing the pan for the spices to fry evenly.

5.  Pour the voggarane into the dal, and stir in the coriander.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes for the flavours to settle and dal to thicken slightly.  Serve with rice and drizzle with ghee.

south Indian sambar with vegetables

25th June 2009

Sambar is another Indian dish I regularly make, serving it with dosa or rice.   You can experiment with any seasonal vegetables you have on hand or whatever is abundant in your garden. Whole green mung beans can be used instead of yellow lentils.

south Indian sambar with vegetables

Toor Dal is a yellow split lentil with a slightly sweet taste. Try to buy the polished variety, which has a quicker cooking time.  If you do not have toor dal, use split moong dal.  I kept the vegetables chunky to give it real substance. Sambar Powder, jaggery (Indian sugar), fresh curry leaves, and tamarind paste can be bought from any Indian store.

preparation – 45 minutes

serves 3 – 4  

ingredients

½ cup toor dal or yellow split moong

4 – 6 cups water

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp ghee/oil

1 medium carrot (cut into rounds)

1 medium zucchini (cut into large chunks)

½ red bell pepper (roughly chopped)

a handful of beans (finely chopped)

2 heaped Tbsp jaggery/sugar

1 heaped tsp fine rock salt

fresh coriander

sambar – coconut paste

1½ heaped tsp sambar powder (or more to taste)

1 tsp tamarind concentrate

¼ cup shredded dried coconut

1 cup water

voggarane

2 Tbsp ghee/oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

8 fresh curry leaves

¼ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)

preparation 

1.  In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, wash the dal until the water runs clear; add water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, then add the vegetables.

2.  Simmer until the dal breaks down and the vegetables are soft – about 30 minutes.  If it becomes too dry, add a little water.

sambar – coconut paste

3.  Place in an upright blender the dried coconut, tamarind paste, sambar powder and 1 cup water – blend into a smooth paste – approximately 1 minute. 

4.  Pour into the dal and use a cup of the liquid from the dal to swish the blender clean. 

voggarane

5. Heat the ghee in a small pan; when hot, add the mustard seeds, wait until they splutter and pop, then add the curry leaves and asafoetida.

6.  Pour the voggarane over the dal, add the jaggery, salt – mix and, cover with a lid and allow to sit for 5 minutes for the flavours to come together.

7.  Stir in the coriander. Taste and adjust by adding more tamarind, jaggery and salt.

 

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