The simplicity of this South Indian–style mixed masoor-moong dal does not distract from its flavor. A generous helping of kadi pata (curry leaf) and a tadka (tempering) of cumin, mustard, and whole red chiles infuse this dal with nutty, spicy undertones and a rich aroma. Meanwhile, the addition of tomato and onion gives it heft. The recipe was shared with me by my young aunt who grew up in Karachi. She learned it from her Gujarati neighbors. Will the dal hold up to the test of authenticity in Gujarat, India? Probably not. But given that the recipe was passed from a Gujarati neighbor to a Urdu-speaking one, makes it distinctively Karachi.
- Wash the masoor dal and moong dal till the water runs clear.
- If using whole moong dal, soak overnight. I prefer to use split moong dal, which cooks faster.
- Add lentils to a stockpot and add 5 cups of water. Bring to a simmer.
- Add crushed ginger and garlic, kadi pata, chopped onion, tomato, turmeric, and red chile powder, and green chile.
- Bring heat to low and cover. Let dal cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Once the dal is ready, begin to get the tadka ready. Heat 1 to 2 Tbsp. of canola/vegetable oil in a saucepan and add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds begin to pop, add cumin seeds. Once the oil becomes aromatic, add whole red chiles.
- After they have changed color slightly, pour the tempered oil on top of the dal.
Maryam Jillani is TASTE's Cook In Residence, and the founder of Pakistan Eats.