Debra’s Delicious Dal: Nutritious and Medicinal Too!

February 9th, 2011

Ingredients for Debra's Dal

Here is the recipe for Debra’s Delicious Dal, made with either red lentils or split yellow mung beans.


  • 1 cup red lentils or mung bean dal (split yellow dal)
  • 1/2 -1 tsp. black mustard seed
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. cayenne (to taste)
  • pinch of hing (asafoetida) for digestion
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped or some shallots, chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove (minced)  (can omit if you do not tolerate garlic)
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger root (can use dried powdered)
  • 1-2 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash (or any favorite veggies)
  • 1-2 good-sized tomatoes (can use soaked dried tomatoes, or canned)
  • Fresh cilantro
  • juice of fresh lemon & lime

Cook the lentils

  • Soak 1 cup of dry lentils for 3 hours
  • Rinse thoroughly 4-5 times (before or after soaking).
  • Cook the lentils with 3-3 1/2 cups water in one of two ways:
    1. Pressure cooker 10-12 minutes;
    2. Regular pot on stove top: bring to boil and simmer for 40 minutes until soft.

Note: Debra uses a 2 quart pressure cooker: Swiss KUHN RIKON brand.

Cook the spices and veggies

Saute black mustard seed in 1-2 T. olive oil on medium heat (or ghee on higher heat) until the seeds pop — Keep lid on!

Sauté the mustard seeds

Then add other spices, salt, mix together and add chopped onion or shallots and other veggies; and saute until cooked.  This takes about 2-3 minutes. As soon as you hear them popping, turn heat off. Add the rest of the spices. Then add the veggies. Saute for 8 minutes, medium heat.

Sauté the veggies

Add tomatoes. (optional & seasonal) Add a little water if not using tomatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients

  • Then add the mung bean dal.
  • Then add brown basmati rice (optional).
  • Debra adds tomatoes last and some extra water
  • Cook around 10-15 minutes depending on how you like your veggies.
  • Mix with lentils and “salt them well”!
  • When all done, add a handful of fresh chopped cilantro and lemon or lime juice; Serve with your brown basmati!  Enjoy!!

Garnish with lemon and cilantro and serve

Cooking brown basmati

Debra cooks brown basmati rice in a ceramic pot inside the pressure cooker. Very macrobiotic of her, no? Ceramic rice pots may be purchased from Gold Mine Natural Foods or you might do a google search for clay/ceramic cooking pots. Debra has been using the one from Goldmine for 35 years. She recently purchased a new one.

How to cook brown rice in a ceramic pot in a pressure cooker:

  • Add 4 cups of water directly into the pressure cooker;
  • 1 cup of brown rice (rinse well) & 1 cup of water in ceramic bowl and put lid on;
  • Put the bowl in pressure cooker:  cook for 25 minutes.

Debra says:  Goldmine also has amazing raw sauerkraut…

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