Serves 6 to 8
Soup

Ingredients

Part 1: For the Dal
  • ghee,2,tablespoons,or unsalted butter,pure-indian-organic-grass-fed-ghee-7-8-oz
  • medium onion,2,tablespoons,,
  • salt,,,,
  • pepper,,,,butchers-10-ground-black-pepper
  • ground turmeric,1,tablespoon,,organic-turmeric
  • cumin seeds,1/2,teaspoon,,whole-cumin-seeds
  • cayenne,1/8,teaspoon,,cayenne-pepper
  • red lentils,1,pound,rinsed,whole-indian-masoor-dal
  • water,10,cups,,
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Red Lentil Dal

Dried legumes (lentils, chickpeas, split peas), known as dal, are consumed daily by most Indians. Dal, whether served as a soup or a thicker stew, is truly, deeply delicious. The secret of great dal lies in a technique all Indian cooks know: Sizzle a handful of spices in hot ghee or oil to make a tarka. This dal features cumin seeds, or jeera, along with the near-obligatory turmeric, chopped garlic, chiles, and finely diced onion. The tarka transforms a pot of lentils into something rich-tasting, buttery, and shot through with flavor. — From David Tanis Market Cooking by David Tanis. Buy this book from Artisan Books, Indiebound, or Amazon.

Reprinted with permission from David Tanis Market Cooking, 2017. Published by  Artisan Books. Photographs copyright © 2017 Evan Sung.

Written By David Tanis | Jan 11, 2019

Ingredients

Part 1: For the Dal
  • ghee,2,tablespoons,or unsalted butter,pure-indian-organic-grass-fed-ghee-7-8-oz
  • medium onion,2,tablespoons,,
  • salt,,,,
  • pepper,,,,butchers-10-ground-black-pepper
  • ground turmeric,1,tablespoon,,organic-turmeric
  • cumin seeds,1/2,teaspoon,,whole-cumin-seeds
  • cayenne,1/8,teaspoon,,cayenne-pepper
  • red lentils,1,pound,rinsed,whole-indian-masoor-dal
  • water,10,cups,,
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Step one

Melt the ghee in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion and season generously with salt and pepper, then add the turmeric, cumin, and cayenne. Cook, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 10 minutes. Add the lentils and water and bring slowly to a boil. Skim and discard any rising foam—there may be a lot—and stir diligently, because sometimes the mixture can overflow the pot during the first few minutes of cooking.

Step two

Turn the heat down to low, partially cover the pot, and simmer gently for about 45 minutes, until the lentils are quite soft. When the lentils are cooked, taste and adjust the salt. For a smooth, velvety consistency, puree the dal in a blender, then return to the pot. Or, if you prefer some texture, just beat with a whisk for a minute or two. If the dal is very thick, thin with a little water. (I prefer it on the soupy side.)

Ingredients

Part 2: For the Tarka
  • ghee,2,tablespoons,,pure-indian-organic-grass-fed-ghee-7-8-oz
  • serrano chile,1,,finely chopped,
  • garlic cloves,3,,grated or minced
  • cumin seeds,1/2,teaspoon,,whole-cumin-seeds
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Ingredients

Part 2: For the Tarka
  • ghee,2,tablespoons,,pure-indian-organic-grass-fed-ghee-7-8-oz
  • serrano chile,1,,finely chopped,
  • garlic cloves,3,,grated or minced
  • cumin seeds,1/2,teaspoon,,whole-cumin-seeds
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Add All

Step three

Heat the ghee in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the serrano, garlic, and cumin seeds and cook until the cumin is fragrant and the garlic is lightly colored, about 1 minute. Immediately pour the contents of the skillet into the pot and stir into the dal. Taste again and correct the seasoning if necessary.