Sunday, April 25, 2010

Masoor Daal with Nigella and Cilantro

A wet and dreary Sunday like today is a perfect day to tuck into a big bowl of light and healthy steaming daal and rice garnished with Aavakkai mango pickle. This super simple masoor daal recipe is from my maternal grandmother—the bright note of cilantro is perfect for a spring or summer meal.

1½ cups Masoor daal (split red lentil)
2 quarts Water
1½ tsp Turmeric powder
Salt (to taste)
1tsp Vegetable oil
3 tsp Nigella seeds (kalonji or kaalo jeerey)
1/4 cup Cilantro (roughly chopped) 
  1. Wash daal thoroughly and let soak, covered in water, in a bowl, for 30 mins. Drain water and set aside. 
  2. Bring 2 quarts water to a rolling boil in a large stockpot. Add daal and cook uncovered over high heat for 45 mins-1 hr, occasionally skimming the foam and scum that gathers on the top. About 20 mins into the cooking process add turmeric and salt. You know the daal is cooked through and ready when all the grains have completely disintegrated into the water resulting in a golden, soupy liquid. Turn heat to low and continue to simmer, as the spices are prepared. 
  3. In a small skillet heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat and add nigella seeds. Sputter seeds for a few minutes. Lower heat, add 2-3 ladles of cooked daal and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the spiced daal mixture into the large stockpot with the rest of the daal. 
  4. Add chopped cilantro to daal and stir well. Turn off heat and let the cilantro flavour steep for 10-15 mins. Serve hot with rice and condiment of choice (a dollop of ghee, or spoonful of mango pickle, or both!). 
[Yields about 1½ quarts]

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