Simple Cumin Scented Dal

Simple Cumin Scented Dal

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PREP TIME 20 Minutes
COOK TIME 1 Hour 15 Minutes


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 4 curry leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 dried red chili peppers
  • ½ teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds


  • 1Pick over the lentils to remove any stones or debris and then rinse well. Place the lentils in a 3-quart saucepan and add the water. Stir to be certain the lentils have not stuck together. Place the pan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally as the heat rises. Reduce the heat and using a skimmer, remove and discard the foam that rises to the surface during the first few minutes of cooking.
  • 2Continue to cook the lentils, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes, or until they are softened. Add the cumin, ginger, curry leaves, turmeric, black pepper and salt. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the lentils are almost dissolved and the flavors have merged, about 30 minutes. Add water as needed so that the soup remains relatively thin in texture.
  • 3In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the chili peppers, asafetida and mustard seeds. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mustard seeds pop and the peppers are blackened. Immediately stir this mixture into the cooked soup. Taste and adjust the seasonings and serve immediately.