Dr. Uma’s Dal
A buttery lentil soup, often part of the traditional diet in India. Her mother-in-law lovingly shared this recipe with her, and is one of her go-to recipes! You’ll never believe something this quick and easy to make could taste so good! Get ready to impress! (Want to see Dr. Uma making this, check out this video here!)
- 1 1/2 cups peeled mung dal (this is a buttery-tasting lentil)
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1/2-3/4 of an onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 inch piece of ginger, finely minced
- 3 green chili peppers (I use Jalapeños or serrano), finely chopped
- Butter or ghee for frying
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Cilantro (optional, mostly as a garnish)
Toast the cumin seeds in about a tablespoon of ghee/butter, until they are popping in the pan. Then add the chopped ginger and chili peppers, until the flavor became aromatic. Next, put these 3 ingredients aside (to be added into the dal at the last step).
Next, roast the dal ever-so-lightly in the leftover butter in the pan (if you over-roast, the dal will not cook into a creamy texture, so you can even forego this step, to err on the side of caution).
Pour about 3 cups of water to the roasted lentils (the level of the water covered the top of the lentils by about 1 inch – you can always add more later, if you want). Add about a teaspoon of turmeric powder and salt to taste, and add the chopped onion. Bring the mixture to a rumbling boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, and let the dal cook until soft and creamy/mushy (takes about 30 min).
Once the dal is nicely cooked, stir in the roasted spice mixture. Lastly, add some fresh, chopped cilantro, if you like.
Dr. Uma‘s “disclaimer” with her recipes:
While I love to eat, I’ll be the first to admit I did not grow up a “foodie” nor as a cook. (In fact, my mom pampered me as a child, cooking for me and barely asking me to lift a finger to help. I barely had a clue as to how to make rice or tea/coffee until I was well into my thirties!) And when I finally did start to cook on my own, creating healthy food was my last priority. In fact, I developed a penchant for baking, and quite clearly remember my “go-to” comfort foods/recipes were apple crisp, lemon squares, and oatmeal cookies!
All this is to say, my interest in cooking has definitely evolved, and I’m still working hard to be an even better cook for myself, for my health, and for the health and wellness of my friends, family, and patients. So when I share recipes with you here, on this website, it’s not to make claims that I am a “super chef” or anything even remotely like that. It’s just to share that if I can do it, anyone can.
And I don’t tend to use precise measurements when I cook at home. Like my mom, I tend to be somewhat spontaneous as I cook, creating and modifying as I go. I try to recollect flavorful memories from my childhood, travels near and far, and often “play around” with recipes after “Googling” ideas and ingredients online.
For instance, I shared a recipe for an Ecuadorian travel-inspired avocado chickpea red onion salad here. I suggested using 3 avocados, but you might like it more or less! Or, you might like more red onion or no black pepper! Some of you might like to add in some garlic and/or cherry tomatoes! Now that I’m typing this….. I’m thinking adding some mint could add a fresh taste too!
One of the best parts of cooking is the fun you’ll have learning to experiment. Half the fun is making edible mistakes and sharing your recipes for helpful hints and collaboration too!
Here’s to cooking for health!