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Dal tarkari
Dal and vegetable soup


Preparation and cooking time: 1 hr
200 g mung dal or green split-peas
1.9 ltrs. water
3 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick, 7.5 cm long, broken in half
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon butter
275 g assorted vegetables, washed and cubed
1 tablespoon ghee
11/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 dried chillies, crushed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 lemons, washed and cut into 8 wedges each

Clean and wash the dal. Drain. Combine the water, salt, bay leaves, and pieces of cinnamon stick in a heavy saucepan or pot to boil. Put the dal into the boiling water.
When the water comes to a second boil, partially cover the pot, lower to a medium heat, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the dal grains are quite tender. Remove any froth that collects at the top. Then put in the turmeric and butter. Drop in the cut vegetables, replace the lid, and continue cooking on the same heat until the vegetables are tender and the dal is completely broken up. Let the dal simmer while you prepare the seasonings.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of ghee in a small frying pan and toss in the cumin seeds and the crushed chili. Stir once. When the cumin seeds darken, put in the grated ginger and the asafoetida and fry a few more seconds. Swirl and tilt the pan, and then pour the seasonings into the dal in one swoop. Cover the pot immediately and allow the seasonings to blend into the dal for 4 or 5 minutes. Serve this dal for lunch steaming hot with rice, vegetables, and a bread, garnished with fresh minced herbs and a wedge of lemon.
Dal tarkari should have a thin consistency; if it is too thick, add some hot water.