Saturday, 21 July 2012

Masoor Dal with Tomatoes and Kale

Masoor Dal with Tomatoes and Kale

In my desire to stick with high protein vegetarian dishes, I practically started to drool when I came across these pretty orange lentils smiling up at me from my pantry.
These are not typically used in most dal dishes, but I love them because I prefer their taste to toor dal, which is more typical, and they cook much more quickly.  They also look gorgeous when you first start cooking them, but alas they do fade later on. 

I’m using the fresh kale growing in the garden, and as fresh tomatoes are plentiful and cheap at the market, they’re my choice too.  The tomatoes in the greenhouse are nowhere near ready, so store bought will have to do for the weeks to come.  Luckily the chillies are plentiful!

This dal recipe is quite fast and simple to make:
4 cups cold water
1 cup masoor dal

Me old spice grinder ...
The Masala ½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander seed
½ teaspoon fennel seed
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
3 cloves
½ teaspoon green cardamoms, crushed
¼ teaspoon black cumin
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seed
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon black salt
1/8 teaspoon hing

The Rest
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
½ teaspoon dark mustard seed
½ teaspoon cumin seed
1 inch fresh ginger, sliced into fine sticks
1 red onion, diced
3 chillies finely sliced into rounds
3 fresh garlic cloves, finely sliced
3 large ripe tomatoes, diced and juice kept
5 leaves kale,
additional water

cilantro for garnish

Either we are lucky in Canada that masoor dal always comes perfectly clean, or all my old cookbooks are being overly fastidious when they warn me to wash and clean the dal, picking out small stones.  I do recall this necessary step thirty years ago, but not today.  The dal I buy is always perfectly spotless, so I add it directly to the pot and fill that with fresh, cold water.  Turn the heat to high, and when it starts to rapidly boil, lower the heat to simmer, cover, and let it cook about thirty minutes.

While the dal is cooking, dry roast the masala spices.  Use the pan you will be using for this dish, and place it on the burner at medium high.  Add all the masala spices except the last four powder items.  As soon wisps of smoke and a gorgeous fragrance appear, remove them to a spice grinder, along with the four powdered items.  Whizz to a powder, and set aside.

In the same pan you used to roast the masala, pour in the oil.  As soon as it seems hot, sprinkle in a few mustard seeds.  When they splutter, add them all, then the cumin seeds.  Immediately add the onion, ginger and chillies, stirring and reducing the heat to medium.  When the onion is soft and browning at the edges, add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.  Then add the ground masala, and cook for another three minutes or so, stirring often.  The mixture will be quite dry at this point.

Chop the tomatoes, and slide them into the spice mixture, being sure to scrape the board to get all the tomato juice.  Using scissors, cut the leafy part of the kale, so that the kale is in ribbons and the stalks are left behind.  Do this right over the pot.  Stir gently, cover and cook for about twenty minutes.  By then the tomatoes should have softened and added lots of liquid to the pan.

Pour in the cooked dal, stir and add a bit more water if the mixture is too thick.  Serve lots of this over rice as a main course, garnished with cilantro, or a smaller amount as a side dish.  This recipe is super healthy and easy!  Great for a lazy day!
If you really wanted to laze out, you could use a spoonful of boxed masala instead of making your own, and you’d really have it made!
Anything good growing in your garden?  I planted fenugreek, starting it from seed in the greenhouse, and now I'm just a little ticked that the exotic herb known as fenugreek may turn out to be plain old common clover, which I've been weeding out of the garden all my life.  Does anyone know if fenugreek really is common short clover?  Please let me know! 


  1. Some of the dal we get here from markets and grocery stores have some stones and dirt so we have to wash it..Lucky you :) And dal looks perfect and yum :) And yes Fenugreek is a short clover and we use those grown fenugreek leaves for flavoring gravies, rice preparations etc. And we dry these leaves to give exotic flavor..Use it fresh or dried its aroma is amazing!!
    ~Today's Recipe~
    Thandu Keerai Poriyal/Greens Stir Fry
    -You Too Can Cook Indian Food Recipes

    1. I like your amaranth leaves recipe too! I don't know if we can get it here. I've looked more closely at my fenugreek flowers, and they are totally different from the short yellow clover growing in the cracks of the bricks near the veg garden. Thank heavens! The thought of sowing and carefully nurturing, then transplanting common clover is just too annoying! Hooray for methi!

    2. Thanks Mary :) Don't forget to take a pic of the Methi that you have nurtured..I'd love to see it :)

  2. I also have same old spice grinder which i am not using anymore. color of its lid has changed from transparent to yellowish so grinder is sadly sitting in a corner. your dal looks very delicious

    1. Poor lonely little thing. You should show it a picture of mine. Thanks for visiting the blog!

  3. You have a great website that I have been referring to with regards to learning new recipes. Keep it up. Auction house Manchester

  4. Thanks for telling me. I always appreciate it!

    1. Hey I got the same ditto comment in atleast 4 posts, I think they just wanna place their link in our blogs like ads :( its bit annoying tho!!!