comfort food · Daal Fry · lentils · Toor Dal · Winter favourites · Yellow Lentils

Another Year and the love of Lentils

Happy New Year !! It has been a while since I last blogged. Honestly, I do not know why. There wasn’t anything pressing that needed my attention , it is just that I could not or rather would not find joy in cooking, baking and photographing my food. It is just that I kind of hit a wall. I was tired of it all. You know how it is. You just kind of want to get away from all every once in a while. I think that kind of did me good.  There is all this renewed energy and well though there are no promises, there is a desire to cook, learn and experiment with food and the joy of doing it all.


Now then, since we are done with the whole Happy New Year thing, how many of you make resolutions? Alright, I  shall rephrase my question,  how many of you keep resolutions? I cannot , I simply cannot stick them. Last year my resolution lasted a month, which in it self is a very big achievement as far as I am concerned. I have tried year over year to strengthen my resolve on this matter and frankly, it has not worked so far.  One thing is for sure, 2016 went by so quickly. I know we say this with every year passing but looking back, last year kind of seemed like a rush. We moved half way across the country, new state , new tie zone, explored places I never thought existed, travelled extensively, fell in love with driving, got actively involved in the local community, read a lot, had family and friends visiting, met cousins I hadn’t seen in years, lost loved ones, took up fitness  seriously, made some wonderful friends and worked as well. Now then, that for me is a lot of work in one year.


In all this however, one thing has not changed and that is my love for lentils, or as we Indians like to call it daal. I have loved daal ever since I can remember. Red lentils ( Masoor dal) is still my favourite and give me dal and rice and you can get away with murder as far as I am concerned, ok not  murder may be , but you know what I mean. I could eat dal every day of my life and never get tired of it. A single dal, a mix of 2,3,4 ,5 or even 6 dals together, I simply love it. In many places in India, dal and rice or dal and roti is one square meal and it is nutritious, whole some and still reasonably priced. It is a classic comfort food. The best thing about daal is that it is easy to cook one pot meal, especially on a week night  with basic pantry staples. You could go from burner to table in 30 mins flat.


This particular dal, is one of my favourites. We often found comfort in scooping bowl full of steaming toor daal with hot phulkas  during the cold winter months in Delhi. Mind you, Delhi can get very cold, given that you do not have central heating or running hot water, at least you didn’t when I was growing up. So when temperature hit 25 below 0 last week, all I could think of was a bowl full of daal fry and steaming rice. Not to mention the warmth and richness of turmeric, cumin, whole spices is all the more inviting on a brutally cold evening. There is nothing like daal and rice. Except, it sounds even better, when I say it in Bengali. 🙂


Daal Fry


  • Ingredients:1 cup Toor/ Arhar  Daal (Pigeon peas spilt and skinned)
  • 2-3 table spoons of Ghee (clarified butter) more for tadka
  • Dry red chilies-2-3
  • 5-7 cloves Garlic , finely chopped and 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • Ginger a nob ( medium size crushed )
  • 2-3 Chilies Green , slit lengthwise
  • Asafoetida pinch
  • Cumin seeds-1 teaspoon
  • 1 Onion large , finely chopped
  • 2 Tomatoes , finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Kashmiri lal mirch
  • 1 teaspoon of chili flakes
  • 1 lime juice
  • to taste Salt
  • Coriander Chopped 


  • Start by washing and soaking the dal for about 30 -40 mins in warm water. Then in a pressure cooker cook the dal  in 2 1/2 cups of water and turmeric for 2 whistles on high and then another 8-10 min before turning it off and letting the steam escape. You must be able smash the dal with a fork .
  • Next heat a kadhai or wok with 2-3 table spoons of ghee. Once the ghee is hot add the asafoetida, cumin, dry red chilies and garlic and gently saute till the garlic turns light brown.Now add the onions and saute till they turn light pink  or opaque in case you are using the white or yellow onions.
  • Now add the ginger and chopped tomatoes and cover and cook till the tomatoes are soft and completely broken.
  • At this point add the powdered spices and let it cook till they release the oil. Next add the daal , lime juice and salt and bring it to boil. Add water if you want to change the consistency of the daal. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  • In a separate pan preferably a tadka pan or a small sauce pan . Heat 1 table-spoon of ghee, to it add chopped garlic and kashmiri Lal mirch, when the garlic flakes turn brown, pour the garlic tadka on the daal. Finally, garnish with coriander leaves and red chili flakes

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