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How to Season Dal

Learn how to season dal from cookbook author Maya Kaimal in this Howcast Indian food video.


Okay, we're going to season our dal now. We've got some oil heating up in a pan. And we're going to add our ingredients to our hot oil, starting with our mustard seeds. Now, these will actually pop so you want to have a lid handy. They're going to pop slightly as the moisture inside them heats up. They explode a little bit. They also turn from a brown to a grey color. I am using brown mustard seeds. You can use yellow too, if they're what's available. But the brown has a nice, sharper taste.

Next, I'm going to put in a dry red chili, and I like to break it in half to let the seeds come out. It gets a little spicier that way. Now, I'm going to add fresh curry leaves, which are used in a lot of South Indian cooking. And these are really going to splatter so, I definitely want to have my lid handy.

You can get this amazing aroma off of these leaves. The combination of the leaves and the seeds, it's a trademark of South Indian cooking. And it's just a great herbal, nutty smell. Now, we're going to add a little bit of onion and some garlic and fry this up. We're going to brown the onion slightly.

Okay, so our onions are a little bit brown now. We're going to add a half teaspoon of cumin, quarter teaspoon turmeric, and a pinch of cayenne. Now, I used curry leaves in this dal, but you don't have to. It would be still really flavorful, if you can't find curry leaves. They're usually sold at Indian grocery stores, but like I said it's just without.

So, we'll fry up these spices until we get a nice aroma that they've cooked through and they're not raw and sharp tasting anymore. And now we're ready to add this to our dal. The mustard dal as you might have noticed starting out red, but it turns yellow as it cooks. And the turmeric helps enhance the yellow color. It often used in dals.

We're going to add our salt and at this stage you find that it a little bit too thick, you can also add little more water but this looks about right now.So, going to make sure it heated through adding a teaspoon of lemon juice and that just brightens up the favors at the end. And we're also add a little bit of clarified butter, also known as ghee, which will add a nice, rich sweetness to our dal. That's all you need to do to make some really flavorful, seasoned dal. And here we have our delicious seasoned dal.

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