Dal Daal Dahl…Call it what you want, it was delicious!

So, I have broken a rule of food blogging.  I have waited too long to write this post and now the details of my preparation elude me.  I’ll do my best to include everything I did…but perhaps I’ll just have to make this dish again! *wink*

Along with my Chana Masala, I attempted a version of Dal.  I discovered the recipe in Mark Bittman’s new cookbook and I found it be quite easy to prepare and deliciously flavourful.

I followed the recipe fairly accurately, but I replaced a few spices and added some vegetables…all based on what I found in my kitchen at the time.

Click here for the recipe I used or scroll to the bottom of the post.

One thing I really liked about making this dish is that I didn’t have to worry about over simmering it!  Well, okay, had I left it on the burner for a notable length of time, I suppose it may have been ruined but, based on the recipe, a little over-simmering wasn’t worrisome.  It was meant to be a hearty stew type dish with all the flavours mixed well and all the veggies well softened.  My veggies turned out to be a little over-tender, but served over rice, that didn’t seem to matter very much.

Preparing my ingredients

So, to go off on a tangent for a moment….I have to say, one thing I have noticed about my cooking is that the noted preparation times DO NOT apply to me.
I generally choose recipes based on ingredients and what I’m in the mood to work with…but at the same time, I usually cast a quick glance at the preparation time so I can plan ahead.  Unfortunately, the prep times listed with most of the recipes I have attempted are obviously applicable to people with killer knife skills and the ability to stir/mix/slice and dice simultaneously.
This recipe was written with a preparation of 40 minutes “largely unattended”.  For me, that translated into almost two hours of work. I’m hopeful that as my knife skills improve, my prep time will go down….assuming that my knife skills are the only thing holding me back… 😉
And is it just me, or is Kitchen Multi-tasking a completely different animal than general Life Multi-tasking??? I’m a Capricorn.  I can organize, plan and multi-task with the best of them, but put me in a kitchen with utensils, ingredients and instructions and all hell breaks loose!  Don’t get me wrong…it’s fun hell…it really is *grin* but I feel much less in control when I’m in the kitchen trying to prepare a meal that contains more than one part than I do in the middle of a committee meeting while answering calls, texts, emails, planning fundraisers. simultaneously taking notes and leading the discussion!
Maybe I just have to learn how to let go?
Anyway…moving on to my Dal/Daal/Dahl prep….it started pretty simply…Heated my oil and butter, then added the garlic and ginger, allowing them to saute for a minute or two.
Next, I added the chopped onions, allowing them to saute until tender and translucent…just on *this* side of browning.
Next step…add all your chopped vegetables….I used squash, zucchini, cauliflower and eggplant…and lightly saute them, stirring regularly.  I don’t have a picture of this step but it’s pretty straightforward.  By sauteeing them just a bit, I found the flavours are heightened.  I then added the lentils, as well as the spices (pepper, curry, masala and chili) and stirred the mixture until it was coated and fragrant.  This only took a minute or two.
Next, add water until all is covered by about 2 inches.
Bring the mixture just to a boil and then reduce heat and allow to simmer for approx 30 to 40 minutes.  The goal is for everything to tenderize and soften.  After half an hour or so, my Dal looked like this:
So, aside from a good amount of chopping and mincing, this dish truly is incredibly easy.  Lovely served on a bed of rice and, for the record, it also freezes and thaws well for a future lunch!


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, more as needed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup cubed eggplant
  • 1 cup cubed zucchini
  • 1-2 cups cubed squash
  • black pepper
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp Indian Masala spice mix (this was a spice mix I had on hand)
  • 1 dried mild chile, optional
  • 1 cup dried brown or red lentils
  • salt


  1. Put the oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Once heated and the butter is melted, add the onion, ginger, and garlic.  Cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes or so.
  2. Turn up the heat to med-high.  Add your various chopped vegetables (and a little more oil if sticking is a problem) and saute until browned.
  3. Add the remaining spices you are using…I had chili flakes and a spice mixture called Indian Masala…as well as a lot of black pepper and the curry powder.
  4. Add the lentils and enough water to cover everything by about 2 inches.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat so that the mixture continues to lightly bubble.
  5. Cover and allow to simmer.  Stir occasionally and add water if needed.
  6. Cook until tender, anywhere from 30-45 minutes.
  7. Add salt and adjust spices to taste.

NOTE: Although this recipe came from a book, I have made a few minor changes based on what I had on hand.  If you would like the original recipe, you can find it in The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman, p. 362-363.  I used the “Quickest Dal with Lots of Vegetables” version at the bottom of page 363.


About Amanda Pants

A bit odd, a bit eccentric, a bit loud. Kinda goth, kinda alt, kinda geeky. Crochet/cooking/reading/writing/big stompy boots/journals and a Cheshire grin! All recorded on Wordpress ;) Learning to cook with a Dash of Daring and a Pinch of Panic: ediblenoir.wordpress.com Sewing and fibre arts, creations made by moi: stitchnoir.wordpress.com Random rants and other bits and pieces: adashofnoir.wordpress.com View all posts by Amanda Pants

One response to “Dal Daal Dahl…Call it what you want, it was delicious!

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