**Original blog posted March 2020. Updated March 2022** Kali dal is a very popular Punjabi dish and one of those comfort food meals that my husband has grown up with. It has also become one of Sanaya’s favorite comfort foods too so of course I had to find a way to perfect this recipe for both of them. I would say this recipe rotates in our house at least every 2 weeks.
I love it for its nutritional content, loaded with protein, fiber and low in carbs and calories. With all the rainy days we’ve had recently, this is one recipe I can’t pass up. An easy, one-pot meal, this goes great with naan or rice.
Yep, I put a ton of jalapeños as a garnish. Traditionally, it’s cilantro. But, it actually tasted good with the extra jalapeños on top!
A while back, we had a potluck and playdate with my friend Janani and her family. I don’t remember what I made, but I do remember that both my husband and I fought for the last bite of her dal. It was A-MA-ZING! It had a burst of flavor to it that we were both impressed and he actually said it was one of the best dals he has had in his life…. that’s huge coming from a Punjabi!
Most recipes of this specific dal have a basic of three spices, and I’ve found pretty simple in flavor. Works great for many but Janani’s recipe just had this burst of flavor, you didn’t want to stop eating it.
I begged her for her recipe, tried making it and failed. I tried a few more times to the point my hubby was actually sick of seeing dal…….oops. So I went to Janani’s house, had her tell me exactly what to do while I made it with her watching over me. I’ve been using her recipe ever since, however, I did make a few changes to it. I know, I know, why? I changed a little of the technique on which ingredients she cooks in what order, and changed the ratio on some of the basic spices but they are all there. The changed version is what I have listed below but if you’re interested in her original version, message me and I will send it to you.
When I talked to Janani about her recipe, that’s when I figured out it’s the spices and the amount of tomatoes that she uses which give the dal its integrity in flavor. You really need to try out this recipe. It’s so delicious!
If you don’t have an instant pot, follow the same instructions for a slow cooker and set slow cooker time for 8 hours.
As I raise my girls, it has become very important to me that they keep connected to their roots and one of the ways I do this is through food. Lucky for me, they both love the typical comfort food fare of “Dal Chawal” or Lentils and Rice. A twist on the traditional Moong Dal Fry, this recipe adds zucchini and is low in calorie but nutrient dense.
Ready in just 15 minutes, this has become my latest go to recipe when I’m tight on time. Because moong dal cooks very quickly, I don’t soak them for more than 20 minutes.
Nutrition is also very important when I’m serving this dish as a main meal to the girls, and this dish doesn’t disappoint.
1 cup of zucchini moong dal gives you:
8.7 gm protein
7 gm fiber
As to cooking it over the stove versus the instant pot, traditionally, the dal was boiled first then added to the spices. I love just using one pot to make the whole dish so I usually add the uncooked dal into the spices/gravy mix then cook it in the instant pot.
I hope you get a chance to try out this delicious recipe and enjoy it as much as my family does.
Once it is heated, add cumin seeds and asafoetida.
When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, add the onions, garlic, and ginger and saute for 2-3 minutes until the onions have become translucent.
Add tomatoes, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, coriander, and salt. Mix well and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the washed dal and water. Mix well.
Press Cancel and close the lid with vent in sealing position.
Change the instant pot setting to manual or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 4 mins. After the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then release the pressure manually (5 minute NPR).
Once the pressure is released and you have opened the lid, in a tempering pan, heat oil. When it is heated through, add cayenne powder and dried red chili. When it starts to sizzle, add chili oil to cooked dal. Squeeze in lemon juice and give it a good stir.
When Sanaya, my eldest, was about 3 years old, we had gone to Pankaj’s cousin’s house for a play date. Sanaya and her cousin Aarya are besties. They’re only 2 months apart in age and our families have gone through the journey of parenting together since we were pregnant.
Anyways, this story is from a time when Sanaya was very picky about food, especially Indian food. Though I feel like in her short life, she’s either been picky or a proper foodie. Kids!
My sister-in-law, Aarya’s mother had made a black eyed peas curry. I remember growing up my mom making this often so I got excited but nervous also. Will Saanu eat it? Will she like it? I’m hoping she likes it because I’m really trying to get the girls to have an appreciation for Indian food.
Surprisingly, and luckily, she loved it and for once, ate most of her food without a fuss. I felt like I found a magical key. Since then, this is one recipe I make often for the girls, especially when I’m in a pinch as it takes less than 30 minutes to make.
These black eyed peas are perfect for a weeknight meal. Not only are they delicious and quick to make, they are also rich in fiber, protein and non-dairy calcium.
I soak them at the beginning of meal prep. If you don’t want to soak them, simply increase the cook time from 12 minutes to 20.
You can store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
For Stovetop: Soak black eyed peas for at least 1 hour. Then boil them in 4 cups of water for 45 minutes. Drain and add to spices as indicated in step 5. Add only 1 c water and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
For Slow Cooker: Follow directions below and cook on low for 6 hours.
From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this Dal (Lentil)!