Punjabi Daal

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  • 2 cups Urad lentils
  • 2 cups yellow lentils
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • ½ tbsp cayenne

Tourka (flavoring):

  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch of ginger
  • ¼ cup oil (safflower or other)
  • 1 tbso ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • ½ tbsp cayenne (or more to desired spice level)
  • splash of lemon juice



  1. Rinse lentils and add to a pot with the spices
  2. Add water until water level is about an inch above the lentils
  3. Cook on medium heat and stir occasionally
  4. Add more water as water level drops, the lentils should stay soupy and not get too thick.
  5. Cook until the lentils are soft and lose their shape. The cooking time depends on the type of lentils. Urad lentils (which you can only find at indian grocery stores) take 2 ½ hours. Red lentils take about 40 minutes. The type of lentils will have a large impact on the taste of the daal.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the following:

  1. Heat large frying pan with a few tablespoons of oil
  2. One hot at the whole cumin seeds and let them brown for a minute
  3. Add diced onions with the rest of the oil
  4. Add garlic and ginger, minced finely and cook the mixture on high heat until the onions brown
  5. Once browned, add diced tomatoes and the rest of the spices. Add additional oil or water if the mixture looks too dry.
  6. Cook on high until the tomatoes fall apart and the mixture turns sticky.
  7. Once lentils and the tourka are finished, add the lentils to the tourka and simmer for 5 minutes. Add water to get a consistency of a thick soup.
  8. Serve hot over rice with a hot corn tortilla on the side and plain yogurt to garnish