Mixed daal is one of my favorite lentil dishes that I learnt from my Mom. I’ve been making it the same way she taught me for decades. As much as I love this dish, it always amazes me how every time I make it for a dinner party all guests love it just as much.
About the recipe
Mixed daal is a recipe I learnt from my Mom a long while ago when I was a teenager growing up in New York. Since Mom worked full-time she often came home late which meant she had to scramble to get dinner ready. She soon learnt to take advantage of her teenage girls and would often call me from work to cut the veggies or prep the lentils, and sometimes if she was really late I even got to make the entire dish. This is how I learnt to cook many of our Indian foods.
Three varieties of lentils
What makes this daal different from other recipes is that it uses three varieties of dried lentils – toor daal (pigeon peas), whole green moong daal, and pink moong daal. These three lentils are cooked with water until tender then enhanced with spices, tomatoes and onions.
Methi powder (fenugreek) for that unique aroma
For me what really makes this daal unique and fragrant is the addition of a spice called methi powder also known at fenugreek powder. Fenugreek powder releases its fabulous aroma when it is added to warm oil and this really takes the daal to the next level. Mixed daal will taste great without it, but with methi powder it tastes even better And now for one of my most requested recipes – mixed daal. Here it is from my Mom, to me, to you. Give it a try!.
1/2 cup toor daal (pigeon peas)
1/2 cup green moong daal
1/2 cup ping moong daal
1 onion finely cut
1 green chili finely cut (remove seeds to keep it mild)
1 tomato finely cut
Fresh cilantro about 3 tbsp finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
4-6 curry leaves (optional)
2 tbsp ghee
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp asafetida powder
1 tsp methi powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
2 dried red chiles – take out the seeds to keep it mild
Cook the all the daal together with 3 cups water in the instapot for 15 minutes on high pressure. Let it sit on low for 10 minutes. The lentils should be tender and soft.
In a pot warm 2 tbsp oil until hot. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop (cover the pot so the seeds don’t splatter on the counter). Once they stop popping add the green chilies, curry leaves, dried red chilies and then the onions. Shallow fry onions until tender. Next add the asafetida powder, methi powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder and stir. into the onions. Add the tomato and cook for a minute until tomatoes are soft.
Then add all the daal along with the water it is in. Salt to taste and the sugar and stir in. If the daal is thick add 1 cup water to thin it out. Warm through for about 5 minutes until daal is gently bubbling. Turn the stove off. Add juice of 1 lemon and fresh cilantro and mix in. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly.
Top the daal with a dollop of ghee before serving.