Rapid Recovery with Tomato Dal

‘Twas the weekend for the meatarian in me.

We set off to spend Halloween at a friend’s, armed with a tray of spicy chicken wings and a stuffed tiger (a plush toy, lest you think I was experimenting with Asian twists for my upcoming Thanksgiving dinner.)

Nervous about the possibility of being stuck in Friday evening traffic for the next three days, The Boy insisted that we pick up a snack on our way out. The snack being a rather substantial order of Mesquite BBQ ribs. This was followed by a dinner that included a sumptuous shepherd’s pie with minced lamb and the aforementioned spicy chicken wings.

The following afternoon we ate gourmet beef burgers. More ribs. And sausage. In the evening it was a Cuban themed Halloween party at another friend’s place (read pork and more sausage).

And as if our arteries weren’t clogged enough, I made beef chili to round off the weekend, still reeling from the many Mojitos.

I am sure I have left out a species or two.

Needless to say by the middle of the week I was craving Simple. Vegetarian.

I chewed on asparagus spears. Drank a large bowl of tomato soup. Ate a garden salad. No dice.

And then as I surveyed my pantry in despair, I struck gold. Simply simple dal. I ate it with steamed rice, a dot of mango pickle and a bowl of yogurt.

A couple more meals like this and I will be ready for the Filet Mignon this weekend.

Tomato Dal

1 cup toor dal
2 medium tomatoes
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ghee
½ a lime
Salt to taste

Wash the dal thoroughly. Coarsely chop the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the dal along with the turmeric powder. Add two cups of water and pressure cook for 10 minutes or until mushy.

Transfer the dal and tomato mixture to a saucepan. Add about half a cup of water and bring to a boil on the stovetop, adding small amounts of water if necessary. The end result should be runny, but not soupy. Add sugar, salt and the lime juice. Lower the heat and shut off in a couple of minutes.

In a small saucepan or tempering spoon, heat the ghee. Add the cumin seeds. When they start sizzling, throw in the chilli powder. Give it a stir and add to the dal.

You can have it the way I did. For a more complete meal, try with Chettinad Pepper Chicken or Hyderabadi Kheema.

Serves 4


  1. I am going to be stopping by your blog every now and then...not when I am hungry though...we are always running out of food ideas ...even though it is me thats cooking all the time I should ask 'the Girl' to check it out ;-)

  2. Tanjavur Iyer: Please do, and I hope I can provide some inspiration when you are stuck for ideas!


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