Which is a weird thought. I don’t know why it should be–after all part of my brain is sitting in a glass jar (or something) somewhere, so what should the loss of one non-essential organ matter? But there is just something weird about knowing you are going to lose an entire organ. I know lots of other people have had this surgery–did any of you feel the same way?
Hopefully the surgery will be laparoscopic, which means a tiny incision, 5-10 days recovery, outpatient surgery. But in 3% or less of cases, in the middle of the surgery for various reasons, they decide it must be “open,” much bigger incision, 1 month recovery, overnight or more in hospital (more like a c-section). So cross your fingers that it is not open, and hopefully you guys will be hearing from me regularly again soon, probably with more low fat options as the doctor has told me it could take 6 months for my diet to settle back to normal.
Anyway, this dal. This dal appealed to me not just because I have a sweet tooth, but also because the tangy sweetness of tomato is a great way to bulk up flavor without fat. This dal required almost no tinkering, although I confess I added onion and garlic, but unlike the other dal, its flavor muted a bit with sitting, and really needed the super spicy chutney I paired with it.
*This recipe is doubled; split in half for smaller dish.
1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup yellow split peas, rinsed and drained
1-4 T ghee
2 t dark mustard seeds
4 t cumin seeds
20-25 fresh or frozen curry leaves
salt to taste
2 t paprika/cayenne
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz diced tomatoes, canned is fine
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (or jaggery)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Place the lentils and split peas in a medium sized saucepan and fill it with water to cover the legumes by a few inches (how much to cover it by depends on how soupy you like your dal; I like mine thick). Bring to a boil and skim the foam. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer, covered, for 40 minutes until the split peas are quite tender and the red lentils are falling apart. Toward the end, either add more water or remove the cover to adjust soupiness. Salt to taste toward the end of cooking.
While the legumes are cooking, heat a large (nonstick for less fat) skillet over medium high heat. Add the ghee. add the mustard seeds and cover the skillet while they pop (use foil if you don’t have a lid). This will take about 30 seconds; when they stop popping, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves (stand back, the leaves will splutter). After about 15 seconds, add the cayenne/paprika and turmeric, along with salt to taste. Stir another 10 seconds or so and then add the tomatoes with the brown sugar and cilantro. Stir and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. If you use the greater amount of ghee you will notice it separating on the surface, but with lesser ghee this might not be so noticeable.
When the dal is cooked, add the tomato mixture to the legumes and stir well. Let simmer together for 5 minutes and taste for additional salt. Serve with a fiery hot chutney for those who like things more interesting.