The secret to this not-exactly-authentic-but-definitely-delicious dal is slow cooking.
Finding a good dal recipe has been a lifelong quest for me. My all time favourite was the Masala Dal at a nearby Indian restaurant called Jewel do India. It was fragrant and flavoursome, but no longer available since the chef sold the restaurant.
This recipe is an adaptation of Dal Panchratan from Sailu’s Kitchen blog.
The five jewels are the five different types of lentils at the heart of this dal.
50g or 1/4 cup red lentils
50g or 1/4 cup yellow split peas
50g or 1/4 cup urid dal
50g or 1/4 cup mung dal
50g or 1/4 cup du puy lentils
About a tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, nigella seeds, salt
3 cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1-2 Roma-sized tomatoes, chopped
1 brown onion, chopped fairly finely
2 tbsp coconut oil
About 1 litre vegetable stock (enough to cover everything in the pot)
In a stove-top and ovenproof pot that has a lid, gently fry the onion until it’s soft and then stir through the spices and ginger to release their flavours. Don’t let them burn!
Add everything else, bring to a simmer and then lid it, and put it into a slow oven set around 150 Celsius. Leave for a total of about 5 to 8 hours, checking every hour or so to make sure their is enough liquid to get the consistency you want.
This tastes very nice, but feel free to experiment with the spices. I intend to: I still am a little aways from the flavour of original Jewel of India’s version.
It also improves in flavour and consistency the next day, and even after being frozen and reheated.