Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Bangladeshi Mashur Dal
Flavorful dals are a mainstay in Bangladeshi home cooking. They are typically eaten soupy with rice or dense to scoop up with roti or naan. Either way, mashur (red lentil) dal is delicious, nutritious, economical, and oh-so comforting. This is my healthy, low-fat version.
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Serves 3 to 4
1 cup red lentils
3 cups water
2 dry red Indian chilies
2 teaspoons ground dehydrated soup vegetables
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
3 ripe medium tomatoes, cut in a medium dice
1 green Thai chili, chopped
½ cup red onions, cut in a small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup cilantro, leaves and stems roughly chopped
1 ½ teaspoons panch phoron *
½ cup red onions, thinly sliced
2 green Thai chilis, cut into thin strips
Several grinds of black pepper
¼ cup shiro (mild, white) miso paste, diluted in ¼ cup water
* Panch phoron is a Bengali 5-spice blend made with equal amounts of whole nigella, cumin, fennel, black mustard, with ½ as many fenugreek seeds. It has a long shelf life as the seeds are used whole. Store any extra in a cool, dark cupboard and sprinkle it in your curries and soups.
Use a small coffee or spice grinder to grind the dehydrated soup vegetables, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds.
Set aside the sliced onion, ½ the minced garlic, ½ cup of the diced tomatoes, and the strips of chili to decorate the dal at the end.
Rinse the lentils. Add them to a soup pot and add the water, diced onion, chopped green chili, half the garlic, the remaining diced tomatoes, the dry red chilies, ground soup vegetables, and cumin, coriander, and turmeric powders. Bring to a simmer, stir occasionally, and cook until the lentils are soft but still intact, about 30 minutes. Stir in the chopped cilantro.
Heat a large skillet for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the panch phoron whole spices and dry roast for just a minute. Add half the sliced onion and half the green chili strips, reserving the rest. Deglaze with a few tablespoons of water. Stir in the remaining garlic, for just 30 seconds before adding the cooked lentils, combining well. Season with pepper. Cover and simmer for the final few minutes to meld the flavors. Remove from the heat and stir in the diluted miso to taste and correct all seasonings to your preferences. Decorate the top of the dal with the remaining sliced onion, green chili, and tomatoes. Cover immediately to allow the steam to lightly cook the garnish and to keep the dal warm until serving.
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