Dahl is a popular vegetarian comfort food which can be made either by incorporating one particular lentil or a mix of different lentils. Based on your preference, you can either make it mild or spicy. It can be served with rice or Indian bread. Lentils are high in fibre, low in calories, full of good protein, nourishing, delicious as well as easy to cook and digest owing to its soft consistency.
In most Indian households, dahl is a wholesome diet and best cooked in a pressure cooker. The lentils are used from a wide variety of crops cultivated and used as staple food in different parts of country. Whether simply or elaborately prepared, this dish is wholesome, flavourful, and bursting with nutrients. An ideal spice blend for a tasty vegetarian dahl will include the following combination of spices:
Black Mustard Seeds
When mustard seeds are added to hot oil, they splutter releasing their aromatic fragrance. These seeds are obtained from the mustard plant and are an essential ingredient used mostly in Asian cuisine. They also have medicinal properties and can potentially heal bronchial and intestinal problems as well as ease sprains and other pains.
Cumin has a warm, earthy flavour and the seeds look small and boat shaped. More flavour is brought out when the seed is lightly roasted on a dry pan, over medium heat. By adding cumin seeds to hot oil at the initial stage of preparing a dish, its distinct flavour infuses the oil and the rest of the ingredients, when subsequently added.
An integral part of vegetarian dahl, turmeric powder adds the requisite colour to the overall dish. Since its colour is extremely strong, a little goes a long way and compliments all recipes featuring lentils. Turmeric is considered an excellent natural antibiotic.
This spice is actually a blend of unadulterated ground chillies that adds a welcome punch to your dish. However, some chilli powders are mild in taste and are just used to add a lovely deep red colour. It is considered good for hair, skin, helps fight infections, supports the digestive system and maintains a healthy blood pressure.
Garam Masala Powder
Comprising of a blend of ground spices which are usually toasted to bring out more aroma and then ground. garam masala literally means ‘hot spices’. It most often includes coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg, helps build immunity and promotes weight loss.
Asafoetida is extensively used while cooking though it is bitter in taste and emits a strong disagreeable pungent odour. It aids in digestion and is also used in medicines because of its antibiotic properties.
When you just crave for simple home food, plain dahl proves to be immensely satisfying.