The main 'star' of this dal is Swiss chard, an amazingly healthy (and pretty!) vegetable with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. It's a great source of vitamins A, E and C. I like to use both the stalk and the leaves when making dal. I also use a fair number of spices in this recipe, many of which are known for their beneficial properties such as turmeric and ginger. In line with a Sattvic yogic diet, this recipe does not use onion or garlic, but feel free to add a pinch of asafetida. Here we go!
1 cup soaked lentils
1/2 a bunch of Swiss chard (3-4 stalks)
3 curry leaves
Fresh herbs of choice (suggested: cilantro and mint)
1/2 cup tamarind water (optional - to make this, soak a tablespoon of tamarind in water for 2-3 hours, then strain the water and discard the pulp)
1 teaspoon shredded coconut
Pinch each of: asafetida, cinnamon, turmeric, mustard seeds, cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Salt or soy sauce to taste
Boil your lentils together with a pinch of cinnamon and turmeric until ready - at least 30 minutes for red lentils and longer for yellow or green ones. I generally use 3 cups water to one cup of lentils. Add more water when necessary and be careful to adjust heat when the lentils reach a boil - this can be a little messy. I also like to carefully remove the foam with spoon from time to time that can form over the lentils.
While your lentils are boiling, chop the vegetables into fine pieces - the carrots, potato and Swiss chard. In a large pot or pan, warm the coconut oil. Add the asafetida, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and stir for about 60 seconds. Add the minced ginger and stir another minute. Next, add the carrots and potatoes, then coriander, and sauté for 5-7 minutes. If using salt, now's a good time to add some. Next, add the Swiss chard and continue to sauté another 5 minutes. Mix your tomato, coconut and tamarind water in a blender, then add to the vegetable mixture and let boil down a bit. Once your lentils are boiled, add them to the vegetables, and stir all together. Let everything simmer together on a low heat another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and give a good squeeze of lime juice to the dal. Taste and adjust for seasoning (salt or soy sauce can be added here). Top with fresh chopped herbs before serving. Serve as part of a meal with rice or chapattis, or eat stand-alone. Enjoy!
This recipe makes about 4 servings, depending on how hungry you and your guests are!