Mixed Daal, often referred to as “Mix Lentil Curry” or “Mixed Daal Curry,” is a delightful and nutritious dish found in South Asian cuisine, particularly in countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. As the name suggests, it combines a variety of lentils or daals, each contributing its unique flavor and texture to create a flavorful and wholesome lentil stew. Mixed Daal is a popular choice for both everyday meals and special occasions, known for its comforting qualities and versatility.
Here’s an overview of how Mixed Daal is typically prepared:
Mixed Lentils: The primary component of Mixed Daal is a combination of various lentils. Common choices include yellow or red lentils (masoor daal), green lentils (moong daal), black lentils (urad daal), and split chickpeas (chana daal). Each type of lentil brings its distinct flavor and texture to the dish.
Spices and Seasonings: A medley of spices and seasonings is used to season the daal, which can include turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala, and chili powder. Garlic, ginger, and onions are often sautéed to add depth of flavor.
Tomatoes: Chopped tomatoes are frequently added to the daal, providing a tangy sweetness and contributing to the overall richness of the dish.
Ghee or Oil: Ghee (clarified butter) or cooking oil is used for sautéing the spices and onions, imparting a rich and aromatic base to the daal.
Water: Water is the liquid used to cook the lentils until they become soft and tender.
Rinse and Soak: Begin by rinsing the mixed lentils thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear. You can also soak them for a short time to speed up the cooking process, although this is optional.
Sauté Aromatics: In a large pot or pressure cooker, heat ghee or oil and sauté garlic, ginger, and onions until they become fragrant and translucent.
Add Spices: Stir in the spices, including turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder, and cook briefly to release their flavors.
Add Tomatoes: Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they soften and meld into the spice mixture.
Cook Lentils: Add the mixed lentils to the pot and stir to coat them with the spiced tomato mixture. Pour in enough water to cover the lentils by an inch or two.
Pressure Cook or Simmer: Depending on your cooking method, either pressure cook the daal for a few whistles or simmer it on the stovetop until the lentils are soft and the daal reaches your desired consistency. Some prefer it thicker, while others like it thinner.
Season and Garnish: Season the daal with salt and garam masala to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro and sometimes a squeeze of lemon juice for an extra burst of flavor.
Mixed Daal is typically served hot, either as a main dish with steamed rice or Indian bread like naan or roti. It’s a nutritious and comforting meal that combines the goodness of different lentils with a flavorful spice blend. The result is a hearty and satisfying lentil stew that showcases the diversity and richness of South Asian cuisine.