This particular dal has roots in Indonesia and also draws inspiration from a traditional yellow lentil recipe that comes from the state of Gujarat in India. One of the main elements in this dish is the peanut sauce. This recipe combines both the Indonesian element and Indian spices to make it delightfully textured and delicious and is a perfect example of the versatility of dals.
Masoor Peanut Sauce Dal [Vegan]
For the Dal
- 3/4 cup red lentils (split masoor dal)
- 2 cups water
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoon desiccated coconut
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons sambal (or any chili paste)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon kecap manis (or any sweet soy sauce)
- 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 heaped tablespoon unsalted peanuts
- 3–4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 green chilies, slit lengthwise
- 8–10 curry leaves
- ½ tsp Kashmiri chili powder
- 2 heaped tablespoons raisins
For the Dal
- Rinse the lentils a few times under cold water. In a pot, combine the lentils with the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the lentils come to a boil, lower the heat to low.
- Remove any foam with a spoon. Simmer, covered, for around 10 minutes, adding additional water if needed, only enough to barely cover the lentils.
- Take the lentils off the heat once cooked and set aside. Do not drain.
For the Peanut Sauce
- While the lentils are cooking, make the peanut sauce by heating the oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium and add the onion and the garlic.
- Cook until they are slightly browned, about a minute.
- Add the desiccated coconut and fry for another minute. Add the water and cook until the water has evaporated, around 2 minutes. Lower the heat to low and add the coconut milk and cook for another minute.
- Add the peanut butter, stirring hard to mix it in.
- Add the sambal, brown sugar, kecap manis and lime juice and mix well while still on low heat.
- Cook for another minute and then set aside to cool for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the peanut sauce to the cooked lentils and season with salt. If the lentils are too thick, you can add a little water, depending on how thick or thin you want it. If the lentils are too thin, cook the lentils on low heat while you prepare your tempering.
For the Tempering
- For the tempering, heat the oil in a wok or pan, and add the mustard seeds, peanuts, garlic, chilies and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds sputter, after a few seconds, stir vigorously and add the Kashmiri chili powder and the raisins, cooking for less than a minute while still stirring.
- Immediately add this to the peanut sauce and lentils mixture and stir to mix.
- Serve hot with basmati rice.
Note: Tempering, or tadka in Hindi, is an essential part of Indian cooking. It is usually added right in the beginning or at the end of a dish depending on what kind of dish it is. Tempering not only adds more oomph to a dish by making it extra flavorful, but it also helps add more nutrients to your dish.