Lemon Cumin Dal from "Ruhlman's Twenty"
1 cup mung beans, rinsed and cleaned
1/3 cup black-eyed peas, rinsed and cleaned
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kala jeera (optional)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 inch fresh ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, minced or smashed with the flat side of a knife
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, torn or chopped
In a medium saucepan, combine the beans and peas. Add 3 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer over high heat, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the water has reduced to the level of the beans and the beans are tender, about 45 minutes.
In a small dish, combine the cumin, kala jeera, tumeric, cayenne, ginger, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. In a small frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook until the frothing subsides and the butter has browned slightly. Add the spice mixture and sautee for 20 seconds or so. Stir into the dal. Bring the dal to a simmer (it should be very moist; add more water and bring to a simmer if it's too dry), remove from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning, and add more lemon or salt as needed. Serve garnished with cilantro, if desired.
Modifications: I was unable to find kala jeera, so I obviously left it out of the dish.
This dal was pretty good, and in talking to people about it, I found that almost no one I knew has ever made it! I love all things legume, so this was right up my alley. The addition of the ginger, garlic and spices was amazing, but I felt like the lemon flavor was too overpowering. If I make this dish again, I would leave the lemon juice out.