Khatti Dal (Sour Lentils), Hyderabad-Style

IMG_7091

I have finally completed my mission to make all four types of dal described in the New York Times article “New York Dals.” This last one, Khatti Dal, may have been the fastest to make. I did not have the toor dal (yellow lentils) called for in the recipe and substituted chana dal (split chickpeas).  Once again, I used a balloon whisk as a stand-in for an Indian mathani to puree the dal; the resulting dish had a little more texture than the others. The “sour” comes from the addition of lime juice or tamarind concentrate- nice! This recipe is from the New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I doubled the recipe (to ensure plenty of leftovers), and served it over brown basmati rice with green salad (instead of sautéed spinach) and naan on the side. Delicious vegetarian comfort food- I am ready to start the rotation over again!  🙂

Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: about 4 servings
  • 1 cup yellow lentils (toor dal) or chana dal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon green chili or jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup tamarind concentrate or 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower or safflower oil, or other neutral oil such as grape seed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • 12 curry leaves (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Combine the dal, turmeric, chili, salt and 4 cups water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles aggressively and steadily and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
  2. Add the tamarind concentrate and 1/2 cup additional water, and let bubble for another minute. Turn off the heat. Use an Indian mathani (or whisk) to purée the dal for about 1 minute; the dal should be saucy but not soupy. IMG_7084
  3. To make the tadka, heat the oil in a small saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cover the pan; let the seeds pop and sizzle. When the popping begins to subside, add the garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 15 seconds. Add the curry leaves, if you’re using them. Cover the pan (to prevent spattering) and cook for about 10 seconds, allowing flavors to meld.
  4. Pour the tadka into the dal; stir gently to combine. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

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