Monday, July 19, 2010

Dal Soup

I've started cooking again now that I am back in Seattle. One of my goals when I get back from a teaching tour is to regain my energy back from what is usually terrible jetlag. And of course, that means I make soup. As I love Indian food, I will often make Dal Soup. I make it thinner than is served in Indian restaurants as there it is more like a stew or gravy. I like it to have some broth in mine so that when it is poured over Basmati Rice, it still has some soupiness to it. I like to use Moong or Mung Beans although red lentils work well too. Mung Beans are the little yellow pulses that are sprouted into Bean Sprouts or made into Mung Bean or cellophane noodles from their flour. In India, Moong Dal is used to treat the sick, the elderly and small children as it is very nourishing. I don't make mine very spicy as I have a low heat tolerance so I only ad one Serrano Chili. I love the addition of tomatoes and sometime add spinach too as it makes it more colorful. This is one of my older son's favorite soups and another recipe that is frequently requested by my intensive students. I hope you enjoy it too!

Dal Soup

2 cups Moong Dal (yellow split mung beans), washed and drained
10 cups water
½ tsp turmeric
1 - 2 serrano chilis seeded and minced fine
2 tsps salt
6 Tbsps ghee or butter
2 small or one large onion chopped
1 ½ tsps cumin seeds
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced or mashed
2 large or 4 small tomatoes diced
1 bunch of cilantro leaves
1 small bunch spinach leaves (optional)
Additional salt and pepper to taste

In large pot, mix Dal, water, turmeric, Serrano chilis and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, skim and cook until tender – about 45 minutes. In a frying pan, heat ghee and fry onions with cumin seeds until the onions are light golden color. Add garlic and ginger and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add tomato and cilantro. Cook until mixture becomes smooth. Add tomato mixture to Dal mixture. Add spinach if using. Then, cook it all together for an additional few minutes and serve with basmati rice.

Five Element Analysis

Soup is always part of the Water Element although this one has a lot of Earth Element foods too. Mung Beans are also Watery, but they are yellow and soft when cooked so they embody the Earth Element as well and the very nature of this soup is thick and creamy, which adds even more to that Earthy experience. The tomatoes add some of the Fire Element which is also enhanced by the Serrano Chili. The Metal Element is represented by the spices and the white rice it is served on and the garlic and onions bring even more Metal in. The Wood Element is represented by the cilantro and spinach. So this ends up being a very balanced little bowl of soup!

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