Since today is the International Day of Yoga and Yoga originates from India, I will share with you one of our favorite recipes for an Indian dhal.
On Sunday we were in Bois de la Cambre, a park here in Brussels, together with hundreds of people to participate in an open-air yoga session. When hundreds of people gather to move in unison, to meditate and to share positive energy and thoughts it can be only awesome. And it was. Once we came home from the yoga session, we prepared this dhal to enjoy another great gift from India.
Almost two years ago we had a once in a lifetime opportunity. We were invited to a traditional Hindu wedding in Delhi, India. It was our first visit to India and the first time in Asia. We were surprised and honored to be invited to the wedding, and we could not wait for the day.
As a traveler, you often visit places, see the monuments but rarely experience the culture, traditions or day to day life of the residents of a country. We appreciated the time the parents of bride and groom as well as their extended families and friends spent with us, explaining wedding traditions, life in Delhi as well as different delicious meals we had a chance to taste.
One of the most typical meals in India, at least I had this impression, is a dhal. A dhal is traditionally prepared with legumes, spices, tomatoes, onions, etc. There are many different variations of dhal, based on the type of beans that are used. Dhals differ in color, smell, taste, and spiciness, they are vegetarian and many of them even vegan.
On the wedding buffet we tasted many different kinds, and when we went to Delhi city center, we visited a spice shop to buy the typical spices used in dhals to be able to prepare them at home.
We found a web page dedicated to vegetarian Indian recipes where we always look for inspiration when preparing a dhal. This one is based on dhal Bukhara recipe from the Veg Recipes of India web site. We changed some small things to our taste.
Servings: 3 – 4
- 1 cup of white urad dhal (sometimes we use mungo beans, green or black lentils)
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 1 onion, cut into small pieces
- 2 clove of garlic, crushed
- about 1 cm piece of ginger, crushed
- ½ teaspoon of chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of garam masala
- 25 grams of butter
- 7 tablespoons of cream
- Soak the beans overnight.
- Drain the soaked beans, put them in a pot and cover with water. Water should be a couple of centimeters above the beans. Bring to boil, lower the heat and let simmer until the beans are almost cooked. Lentils will be cooked in about 20 minutes, small beans such as urad dhal or mungo beans in about 40 minutes and larger beans in more than an hour. I usually change the water couple of times. With the last change of water add about 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Meanwhile, blend the tomatoes in a blender or with an immersion blender.
- On a nonstick pan heat the butter, add the cut onion and sauté for a few minutes. Then add the crushed garlic and ginger.
- When the beans are almost cooked, add the tomato puree. Since blended tomatoes contain lots of water, you can remove excess water from the beans.
- Add ½ a teaspoon of the chili powder and sautéed onions, garlic, and ginger.
- Let cook until the beans are well done. Taste and add salt or chili if needed.
- At last, add a teaspoon of the garam masala powder and the cream and bring to boil one more time.
- Remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes to let all the flavors mix completely.
- Serve with bread or the Indian naan.