Dal is a simple dish from India that is a favorite of many vegans and and vegetarians worldwide. Why? Not only is it tasty and easy to make, it also is packed with protein. A little like a thick soup, but with so much unique flavor, dal is a traditional food you can make in many different ways, with some dishes specializing region to region throughout India. Here’s a little history behind the dish: the word dal actually comes from a sanskrit word meaning “to split.” There are many different ways to prepare dal and you can use all kinds of different  types of legumes. Most of these legumes have been split though, or have had their hulls removed to help with digestibility.

So now that you know a little bit about the dish you’re making, we’re going to help you become a dal master who could win a dal-cooking race with flying colors (if need be). How are we going to do this? We’re going to provide you with a few tips so that you can make the fastest dal on the block!

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1. They Call Me Mellow Yellow

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One of the best ways to speed up your dal preparation time is by using yellow lentils. You can shave off about 10-15 minutes of cooking time by choosing these lentils over others. Try The Sophie Dal that will have your kitchen smelling like turmeric, garlic and onion to tempt your whole household! If you can’t find yellow lentils at the store, you can try making dal with red (also known as “pink”) lentils. They are also fast-cooking lentils and can be used just like other varieties. Try this Masoor Dal that features lentils and aromatic spices, hearty rice, and other veggies added for a complete meal.

2. Soak It Up

Flat-Mushroom-with-Spring-Dal

Soaking grains and legumes is reported to be good for your digestion, but it can also help lentils cook faster. You actually don’t need to soak lentils, but if you want to speed up the preparation time in advance, you can try soaking them with boiling water from a tea kettle shortly before you cook them and then draining them. You can also add them to edible “bowls” such as mushrooms and eat your dal with a mix of other veggies for a complete meal that also makes for a fast and easy clean-up!

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3. Add Fast-Cooking Veggies

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Dal is already nutritious, but if you’d like to add nutrients and flavor at the same time, try adding some fresh spinach, broccoli, kale, or even some anti-inflammatory herbs like parsley and cilantro for something different. This is a really quick way to get your protein and your greens! Just add it in right after you’ve turned the dal off. You can also try adding frozen greens, like spinach or kale, or frozen peas. Simply add these in a few minutes before the dal is done simmering.

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However you make dal, you, your family, and your friends are sure to enjoy it. Also be sure you check out our tips on How to Cook Indian Food at Home and explore all of our Indian recipes for more ideas such as dal. Most of them are easy to make, make multiple servings, and make for a great dinner for something different than the standard weeknight dishes many of us are used to. What is your favorite way to cook dal? Do you have any preparation tips that help make the process faster?

Lead Source Image: Masoor Dal