Comforting Legumes: Dal

Madhur Jaffrey

Lesson time 15:01 min

The humble yet mighty lentil is a cornerstone of the Indian plate. Madhur shows you how you can take two simple types of dried lentils and turn them into a delicious and comforting dal dish. She also shares a recipe for a chickpea dish.

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Topics include: The World of Dal


[MUSIC PLAYING] CHEF: Now dal is a very humble thing. In many ways for an Indian kid, a dal is like mother's milk. Indians just love all their dals Each one has its own characters. And I think all dals, where particularly certain dals, like moong dal, have this very soothing gentle quality to them that feels almost like a blanket, makes you comfortable. It soothes you. I'm now going to make you a dal. It's our word for legume. So what I have here is what we call masoor dull or red lentils. And this came to us originally from Egypt. So this masoor is both hulled and it's split. Its cut into half. And that's the word dal, means to split in half and to cut in half. So this is a dal that's split. All right. Here I have a moong dal. This is our native dal. Moong dal is an Indian original dal. And here, again, it is in the form that is both hulled and split. So what I'm going to do is put two dals in a bowl. It's a cup of each of the dals. And then the first thing I have to do-- in India, you would have to pick them, go through them, pick for stones, which you don't have to do that anymore. But they still need to be washed. So I'm going to put it under the sink, and you wash with cold water. So here you go. So here's how you wash them. You put enough water. All right. Now you just swish it all around, swish it around, and quickly the first water is not good water. So you want to get it out as quickly as possible. So what you do is just pour it out like that. Now you keep doing this five or six times till the water runs clear. Now the water's getting clearer, but it's not clear. You have to wait till it's nearly cleared. Will not be 100% clear any time, but it has to be much clearer than this. This is just froth that comes out when you wash a dal. A dal has a lot of froth. You'll see more foam later on. And you have to remove most of it, because it's slightly, slightly bitter. And if you want the sweetness of the dal, you take the foam out. And, you know, you think I'm taking time to do this, but in India, in Ayurvedic medicine, they say the slow act of washing, throwing the water out, cutting, chopping, these are all gracious. And we need to have these graces in our life if we want our spirits to rise upwards. So these are little chores, but they're gentle little chores that you do almost without thinking. And you keep doing them. And they are calming, soothing, and help the soul to rise upwards. Here I have the same two dals that have been strained through a strainer. And they're all ready to go into the pot. Now I'm going to take the dal and put it in a pot. You can call this plain dal tarka dal, because I'm going to give it tarka at the end. Tarka is what we say in the North, but there are many words for it. There's chaunk. There's baghar. There are hundreds of terms. And the Southerners of India, when they're speaking English, they just said season it. Now how much water...

About the Instructor

With more than 30 award-winning cookbooks and a James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame Award, Madhur Jaffrey may be the greatest living authority on Indian cuisine. Now she shares those vast and storied traditions with you. Learn 30 authentic recipes: vegetables, breads, South Asian meats, street foods, and more. Blend and layer spices and bring it all together—from the perfect bite to full menus of vibrant flavor.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Madhur Jaffrey

7x James Beard Award winner Madhur Jaffrey teaches you 30 authentic recipes and shares India’s vast culinary traditions and techniques.

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