Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Moong Dal Tadka

Have you shopped on Devon Street in Chicago? Yes? Then you already know that it’s a little India – clothing, groceries, restaurants, and people. We recently took a ½ hour detour on our way through the windy city to visit Devon street and to purchase some spices and dal.

“What’s dal?” you ask. Dal, or dhal, or daal, is quite simply a split, dried pulse.

“What’s a pulse?” you ask. A pulse is a pea, bean, chickpea, or lentil.

The first time I ever entered an Indian grocery, I was speechless at the variety of dal and beans and lentils and chickpeas. It’s crazy how many types of legumes exist! And the spices! We are really limited in choice in the American spice aisle when compared to the Indian spice aisle.

We ended up purchasing two large bags of dal (dried, split beans): a mung bean and a chickpea, both dried and split, and so now called dal…. or daal, or dhal.

I’ve had to put on my detective cap and search far and wide to learn how to prepare these tiny beans. Soup is the obvious first choice, but last night, I made this Moong Dal Tadka.

“What’s tadka?” you ask. Tadka means ‘tempered’ …. in other words, ‘all the spicy goodness you add to the dal to make it taste great.’ In this case: ginger, garlic, jalapeno, cumin seed, garam masala, and pepper.

Moong Dal Tadka (adapted from vegrecipesofindia.com)

For the Dal
¾ C moong dal (dried split mung beans)
1 medium onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 inch of fresh ginger, minced
¼ t red pepper powder
½ t turmeric powder
3 C water

For the Tadka
1 T butter (Earth Balance)
1 T vegetable oil
1 t cumin seeds
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ - ½ t garam masala powder
¼ t red pepper powder
1 jalapeno, diced (with or without the seeds, depending how hot you want it)

Place the dal ingredients in a pressure cooker and process for about 10 minutes. I suppose you could simmer it all on the stove also.

Warm the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the tadka ingredients being very careful not to burn the garlic! Just warm and soften it all.

Mix together and serve with white rice. I also served frozen peas with a bit of fresh spinach and fresh chives. 

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