I work in the restaurant industry and run my own cooking Instagram where I create videos and photographs showcasing my recipes and encouraging people to cook more.
Dal Tadka was the first real dish that my mother taught me how to cook. I can hardly remember a day where this wasn’t being prepared at our apartment. There are a number of ways to make these lentils and it varies household to household. My favorite recipe, of course, is how my mother and grandmother made it.
It can be made plain with some turmeric and salt, or tempered with garlic, chillies, mustard and cumin seeds. The garnishes are where it changes with different regions. The term Dal refers to the ingredient as well as the final dish. It is traditionally a vegetarian dish but there are some variations where meat is added to four varieties of dal and cooked over several hours with spices.
The end result is a delicious silky porridge that can be served with naan bread or by itself. This is a good mild introduction to anyone who has not tried Indian food before.
It has not always been easy living away from home, and there are only a few things in life that can cure homesickness. For myself, and a lot of Indians, good, authentic dal is one of them. Mashed dal and rice was the first food I ate as a baby, and no matter which corner of the world i end up in, the smell and taste of great dal is what brings me back to that old apartment with my family.
And so, I find my self making this often. A steaming bowl of dal with some rice and ghee (clarified butter) is all I need for lunch and at the end of those 12 hour long work days. For me, this is comfort food at its finest, it makes me feel like I’m back at my dinner table in Mumbai.
DAL TADKA RECIPE
1 Cup Toor Dal
1/2 Tomato Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves
Add, 1/4 Tsp Asafetida
Mix with, 1/4 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1/4 Tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 Tsp Tumeric
Add, 1/2 Tbsp Chilli Powder
1/2 Tbsp Coriander Powder
Salt to taste
2 Water Cups
1 Tsp Oil
Boil dal in a pot with water till soft, I cook mine in a pressure cooker (3-4 whistles).
Heat oil in a pan add asafetida, mustard/cumin seeds till they crackel and then add garlic cook for 1 min, then add all dry spices and tomatoes. Cook for another 2 mins and add dal with some water depending on the consistency you want.
Bring to boil, garnish with green chillies and curry leaves. Serve with steam rice or roots.