Greg's kali dal
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This is a recipe I found in “A little taste of India”, a relatively good book on Indian food. This one shows typical problems of quantities: the original recipe asks for 250 g (or 1 cup) of urud dal and 2 litres (8 cups) of water. Apart from the fact that the proportions are wrong (1 litre would be better for 250 g), a “metric cup” (250 ml) of dry urud dal weighs 180 g. sigh. The other quantities of spices are far too little for the quantity of dal; the values I give below are what I'll try the next time.

In addition, the original recipe calls for cream. I've never seen an Indian recipe improved by cream, but since the dish seemed a bit insipid with out it (at least partially because of insufficient spices), I put some sour cream in.

quantity       ingredient step
250 g urud dal, whole 1
1 litre water 1
40 g garlic 2
40 g ginger 2
20 g green chili 2
500 g onion 2
120 ml oil 2
40 g cumminseed 3
30 g coriander 3
5 g chili powder 4
40 g garam masala 5
100 g sour cream 5


Start at least 90 minutes before serving. The dish can be kept warm.
  1. Bring dal to boil in water and simmer for an hour, then drain. Reserve water for step 4.
  2. While the dal is cooking, coarsely chop garlic, ginger, chili and onion, then blend with oil and fry until dry.
  3. Meanwhile, dry roast cumminseed and coriander and add to the onion mix when dry. Fry until fragrant.
  4. Add dal to mixture and stir. Add water and chili to taste, and bring to the boil. Salt to taste. Cook for about 15 minutes.
  5. When ready, add garam masala and cream. Serve.

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