Tomato and dahl soup

5 tablespoonssplit skinned toovar dal (yellow lentils)
3 1/2 cupswater
1 1/2 tablespoonsghee (or oil)
1 1/2 teaspoonsblack mustard seeds
1fresh hot red chile such as serrano or thai, halved lengthwise
500 gplum tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoonsgrated fresh ginger
1 teaspoonground coriander
1 teaspoontamarind paste
3/4 teaspoonturmeric
1/2 teaspoonground cumin
3fresh hot green chillies such as serrano or thai, halved lengthwise
fresh coriander to garnish, optional

Pick over the dal to remove any small stones etc. Wash the dal thoroughly until the water runs clear, and drain well in a sieve. Cook the dal at a bare simmer in 1 1/2 cups water for 40-45 minutes, until almost all of the water is absorbed, stirring frequently during the last 15 minutes to prevent scorching.

Heat the ghee in a large heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook mustard seeds and red chile until the seeds begin to pop. Add 1 cup of water and the remaining ingredients (other than the dal). bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are softened, 6-8 minutes. Add the dal paste and the remaining cup of water and stir to incorporate. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and season with salt before serving with chopped coriander leaves.



Serves four.

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