I woke up with a sore throat today, and I haven’t felt like eating very much. When I’m sick the only thing I want to eat is soup. Chicken soup is great, but when I want something heavier I make Dhal soup. Dhal (or Dal) is a traditional Indian dish that is made by simmering lentils with spices, and it is often served over Basmati rice. This dish is popular with vegetarians because the combination of lentils (a legume) and rice (a grain) creates a source of complete protein.
I like to drink Dhal from a mug (my own version of cup-of-soup), and I’ve been drinking it that way since I was old enough to hold a cup. My theory is that by drinking it in a mug, I can bring all that wonderful soup closer to my nose and inhale the delicious steam that rises off the top.
There is no single way to make dhal as the recipes vary from region to region. Some people add curry powder, mustard seeds and carrots, and others add butter, saffron and pimento. In my family, we turn this dish into a hearty soup by adding chewy flour dumplings. I use grape seed oil instead of butter (to cut down on the fat), add I finish the dish with a fragrant cumin oil. [Read more...]