It was only after I came to the US, that I discovered this dal. First it was the orange colored broken masoor using which my roommate made an amazing dal. I tried to replicate it on my own, after I moved out. But failed miserably. The whole masoor dal didn't turn out any better too. It tasted okay... but okay wasn't good enough. I wanted tasty. Then it was Meenal Mehta's Sabut Masoor dal which gave me some hope and ideas. After a few adaptations, I've finally settled on this recipe which we now make quite often at home. My husband and me love it and my daughter loves it too with a splash of rasam in hers. [That's the way she eats all her dals... I can't complain!]
This recipe does not use any masala powders in it and is very tasty by itself. Sometimes I omit the chilli powder too, and have never missed it. The amount of ginger garlic paste used here, is more than what we normally use in our daily cooking. That, combined with the well ripe tomatoes create some magic in the recipe that you don't really miss the heat from the chilli powder. The recipe is very quick to make, if you have a pressure cooker.
Well ripe tomatoes - 3-4 (well ripe is a must for this recipe), finely chopped
Onion - 1, big, finely chopped
Ginger Garlic paste (made with 5-6 garlic pods and 1 inch of ginger)
Curry leaves - 5-6
Hing/Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt - to taste
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard - 1/4 tsp
Jeera/Cummin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Lime - 1/2
When the mustard splutters, add the asafoetida, curry leaves and onions and saute till the onions get translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for a minute or two.
Put the chopped tomatoes in and add 1 tsp of salt. Add the red chilli powder. The salt helps the tomatoes to melt in a few minutes. When the tomatoes are well cooked, Add the dal and 4 cups of water to the pan. Cook until 4-5 whistles.
Add more salt to taste and the juice of half a lemon. Serve hot with rice.