Moong Dal Tadka
Dal is a layered dish with thousands of variations determined by everything from the availability of certain ingredients to family traditions. But amongst them all, two components are essential to dal: tender lentils and tempered spices. Soft-cooked lentils stewed in an aromatic broth full of onions, garlic, and ginger become the base of most dals. Tomatoes, potatoes, or other vegetables can be added as well, but those elements depend on the cook, the region, and the traditions that influence what goes in the pot. Our Indian Cuisine-themed weekly sale from February 13th – 19th features moong dal (split mung beans), so it’s a great time to give this comforting dish a try!
Soak dal for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse. Place the dal and 3 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the spices. Heat the ghee in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the salt, cumin, turmeric, coriander, and bay leaf, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes along with their juices, reduce the heat to low, and keep warm while the lentils cook. Add the tomato mixture to the cooked lentils and stir to combine. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mash the lentils and combine the mixture. Heat the ghee in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat (you can use the same skillet you cooked the aromatics and tomatoes in, just wipe it clean before proceeding). Have a lid handy. Tilt the pan to form a pool of ghee, add the cumin and black pepper, and cover immediately. Once the spices stop spluttering, remove from the heat and add the garlic. It will brown quickly, so transfer the tadka to another bowl for serving after it browns, or add immediately to the lentils. Add the tadka to the lentils, garnish with cilantro if using, stir, and serve hot over rice.