Toor Dal is also called Arhar Dal in our area and Pigeon Pea in English. While you may have difficulties finding this Dal in a usual supermarket, you may be lucky in an organic food store and can usually always find them in any Indian store.
- 1cup Toor Dal
- 4 cups Water
- 1tbsp oil
- 1tsp Turmeric
- 1tbsp Fresh, chopped Ginger
- 1pinch Asafetida
- 1tsp Cumin
- ½tsp Garam Masala
- ½tsp coriander
- ¼ Bay leaves
- 5 Curry leaves
- 3 Tomatoes
- Salt according to taste
How to cook Toor Dal in Ayurvedic Way
The first step to this delicious dish is to wash the lentils thoroughly with water. Then you put a pot on high heat and heat up ¼tbsp of oil. When it is hot, you add the Toor Dal and stir constantly. After some roasting, you will smell the Dal and will see how it changes to a slightly brown colour. When this happens, you pour the water in the pot and stir one more time so that no Dal is stuck at the bottom of the pot. Add the turmeric and salt according to your taste. If you are not sure about the salt, don’t worry, you can always add more later. Stir one more time and place the lid on the pot.
Once your Dal starts boiling you need to turn the temperature down to a low heat. Now you can let it simmer until the lentils are cooked and soft. You need to stir every couple of minutes so that nothing settles at the bottom of your pot.
It will take at least half an hour or longer until your Dal is soft. In the meantime you can chop your tomatoes to small pieces and prepare the ‘tadka’, the mixture of spices which will add flavor to the lentils.
Heat up the remaining oil in a pan. When it is hot, turn the heat down on medium and add the cumin, bay leaves, asafetida, garam masala, and coriander into the pan while stirring. In the end you add fresh ginger and the curry leaves and stir the spices until they have developed a nice aroma. Be careful not to burn them which will spoil the taste of the whole dish. Before this happens, you add the tomato pieces and fry them along with the spices until they are soft. If you like, you can mash them a bit with your cooking spoon. Others like to have full tomato pieces in the Dal.
When the tomatoes are ready and the lentils are so soft that they are mixing with the water, you can add the tomatoes into the Dal. Stir one more time and you are ready!
Everybody likes their Dal in another way. While some eat it liquid like soup, others prefer it rather thick. You can regulate this with the amount of water you put in the beginning and the time that you cook it. If you like it thick, you can cook it longer with the lid open which will reduce the water of the Dal. If your lentils are cooked but you would like it a bit more liquid, boil some water and add it in the end.
If you want to make your Toor Dal look even nicer, you can spread fresh leaves of coriander as decoration on top of the dish. For another nice note, you can serve lemon juice with it and let everybody decide whether they like it a little bit sour.
You see, it is a dish that can be eaten in many different ways and we will surely explore some variations in the next weeks and months, too.
Lentils – this one or any other form – are part of nearly every Indian meal. Dal is a big provider of proteins and thus completes a healthy vegetarian diet. In general, Toor Dal increases the dosha Vata and balances the dosha Kapha. This means that this Ayurvedic dish is good if you have a cold and feel congested with phlegm. With the spices we added, we have balanced the dish for all three humours and made it suitable for all body types.