Saturday, 27 October 2012

Parappu - Masoor Dhal Curry (Lentils)

My dad told me when in my initial stages of learning to prepare Sri Lankan Tamil curries that making parappu (dhal/lentils) was the most easiest dish of all!

I did agree that it was quite simple but it still did not end up like how my mother would make it.  After a few tweaks, I was able to get it to the same creamy and spicy consistency.

There are a multitude of recipes for dhal but this is my version with a garlicky flavour dashed with cumin:

  • 1/4 cup masoor dhal
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • handful finely chopped onions
  • few sprigs curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies spliced in half
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • spinach to taste (optional)
  • milk to taste

  1. On medium heat, add 1 tsp of oil.  To that, add the mustard seeds, and curry leaves.
  2. Once the mustard seeds start to pop, add in the onions and chillies.  Fry until translucent.
  3. Add turmeric and the dhal and mix well for a minute.
  4. Fill the pot with water until it covers the dhal well.  Close the lid and let it come to a boil and simmer.
  5. Once the dhal is half-cooked, add salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Use the back of your spatula or spoon and mash the lentils so they become creamy.
  7. Mash a clove of garlic with the cumin seeds and add this to the pot.
  8. Stir well.  At this point you can add some spinach that has been roughly chopped.
  9. When the dhal is well cooked, turn off the heat and add milk until it reaches a creamy consistency to your liking. Cover and let it rest.  The internal heat will continue to warm the milk that you added so no need to turn on the stove.
Masoor Dhal
I don't like adding too many onions.  Finely chop them! Don't omit the chillis - they give a nice heat!
Mash garlic with cumin
The finished product!



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