‘Necessity is the mother of invention,’ they say. And they are right, whoever ‘they‘ are. In a lot of cases, discoveries come about when one is hard-pressed. This is especially true in the world of the kitchen, I think. Just how many new recipes have been discovered just because the cook simply had to use up a particular ingredient or because something went wrong and absolutely had to be salvaged? This Thai-Inspired Dal Tadka Recipe is one such thing. It came about, recently, because I had a few ingredients (kaffir lime leaves, galangal and bird’s eye chillies) left over after making Thai Green Curry, and wanted to use them to make something Indian. This Kaffir Lime Dal Tadka went on to become a favourite at home, and I’m sure it is now going to find pride of place on our dining table quite often.
I adore the fragrance of kaffir lime leaves, and love using them to infuse just about everything in my kitchen. So, I’m surprised as to how this Kaffir Lime Dal Tadka didn’t happen sooner in my kitchen! Anyways, better late than never, eh?
The Thai-Inspired Dal Tadka tasted fabulous, if I may say so myself. Paired with piping hot steamed rice, some ghee and cauliflower curry, it made for a hugely satisfying lunch. It’s so simple to make, and such a lovely change from the usual – you must try this out too! This is a vegan dish, and can be made gluten-free too if you leave out the asafoetida used here.
Here goes the recipe for the Kaffir Lime Dal Tadka!
Ingredients (serves 4-5):
- 1/2 cup toor daal
- 4-5 medium-sized kaffir lime leaves
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
- A 1-inch piece of galangal
- 4 Thai bird’s eye chillies
- 2 dry red chillies
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- Red chilli powder to taste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon jaggery or to taste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves
- Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
1. Take the toor daal in a wide vessel, and wash it thoroughly under running water a couple of times, draining out the water from it each time. Now, fill in just enough fresh water to cover the toor daal. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker, and cook for about 5 whistles on high flame or till the daal is well-cooked and soft.
2. Chop the tomatoes finely. Slit the Thai bird’s eye chillies. Chop the galangal finely. Keep ready.
3. When all the pressure has released (naturally) from the cooker, get the cooked toor daal out and mash it well.
4. Now, we will begin making the Kaffir Lime Dal Tadka. For this, heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Add the dry red chillies, bird’s eye chillies, asafoetida, cumin seeds and galangal. Saute for a couple of seconds, taking care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn.
5. Now, add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, along with a bit of salt. Add in a splash of water. Cook on high flame till the tomatoes turn mushy.
6. Add the cooked and mashed toor daal to the pan, along with about 1 cup of water. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder, 4-5 kaffir lime leaves (roughly torn), red chilli powder to taste (if using) and jaggery powder (if using). Mix well.
7. On high heat, bring the Kaffir Lime Dal Tadka to a boil. Then, lower the flame to medium and allow to cook for about 2 minutes. Stir intermittently to ensure there’s no sticking to the bottom of the pan. Switch off gas at this stage.
8. Mix in the finely chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice. Your Thai-Inspired Dal Tadka Recipe is ready! Serve hot with steamed rice or rotis and sabzi of your choice.
- Masoor daal or moong daal can be used in place of toor daal.
- Make sure the daal is well cooked and soft before using it in this Thai-Inspired Dal Tadka recipe.
- If you don’t have Thai bird’s eye chillies, you can use regular Indian green chillies instead. Adjust the quantity as per personal taste preferences.
- Adjust the quantity of kaffir lime leaves you use, as per personal taste preferences. The above quantity worked perfectly for us.
- Thai galangal can be substituted by Indian ginger. However, the galangal adds a unique flavour and smell to the dal tadka, which you will not get in case you use Indian ginger.
- There is no substitute to the kaffir lime leaves. They are an absolute must in this recipe.
- You can skip the jaggery powder, red chilli powder and lemon juice in the above recipe, if you so desire. I used them.
- I have not used garlic in the dal tadka as I was skeptical it might overtake the fragrance of the kaffir lime. In a regular dal tadka recipe, I do add in some garlic too, and some onion as well.
- I prefer using country (Nati) tomatoes in this Kaffir Lime Dal Tadka, over the regularly commercially available farm tomatoes.
- Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the daal tadka you prefer.
This recipe is for Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is #DesiTwist, suggested by Kalyani of Sizzling Tastebuds. Members need to cook a desi dish, imbued by videshi ingredients. I chose to share this Thai-Inspired Dal Tadka recipe for the theme.