spicy urad dal soup

by Heguiberto on February 9, 2012

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spicy urad dal soup

spicy urad dal soup

Every now and then I try recipes from the journal, Gastronomica, published by UC Berkeley. I’m a big fan of this academic culinary periodical. Primarily the articles are stuff related to food history and culture. Their subjects are always off the beaten path. I savor each of issue.

Here’s what it says on Gastronomica’s about page:

Since 2001 we’ve been renewing the connection between sensual and intellectual nourishment by offering readers a taste of passionate inquiry through scholarship, humor, fiction, poetry, and exciting visual imagery. With its diverse voices and eclectic mix of articles, Gastronomica uses food as an important source of knowledge about different cultures and societies, provoking discussion and encouraging thoughtful reflection on the history, literature, representation, and cultural impact of food. The fact is, the more we know about food, the greater our pleasure in it. Welcome to our table!

And it is true! And no, I’m not receiving a cash payment for promoting this quarterly. Though if a check arrives in the mail I won’t be too sad about it.

Alas, what does all this flattery have to do with today’s post? Before we started this blog (that seems like a while ago!) I made a dosa recipe from a lovely article I read in the magazine etitled The Masala Dosas in My Life.

That one called for a small amount of split urad dal, but overenthusiastic, I bought a large bag. After having stored it in the pantry “for a while,” it was time to get inspired again. This urad dal soup has some of the features of my other red dal soup but with a creamier texture. This was excellent and I really don’t know why it took me so long to prepare this gourmet pulse.

I found a great pic of several kinds of urad dal on this excellent site, Manjula’s Kitchen, which I’m re-posting here.

several kinds of urad dal

several kinds of urad dal

spicy urad dal soup

2 cups split and hulled urad dal, picked over and rinsed
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 small russet potatoes, skin on, quartered
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 white onion, chopped
2 Serrano chili peppers, minced (seeds and ribs removed partially)
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 branch curry leaves
1 bay leaf
½ tsp chili powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 28oz can unseasoned chopped tomatoes and juices
Kosher salt
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Put dal, turmeric powder and 6 cups of water in a saucepan. Place it on stove, temperature on high and boil for 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove any foam that may form at the top. Add carrots, celery and potatoes and continue cooking until everything becomes soft. Add more water if needed. Keep it warm.

Meanwhile put oil, mustard and cumin seeds in a large skillet on high. Cook until aromatic and mustard seeds start to pop. Add onions, Serrano chili and cook until onion becomes translucent. Add garlic, ginger, bay and curry leaves. Continue cooking until raw aromas of the garlic and ginger are gone. Next add coriander and chili powders and salt. Give it a good stir. Fold in tomatoes, add a cup of water, stir and cook for about 12 minutes on medium temperature. Mix it in the dal, taste and adjust salt. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Just before serving, transfer half of the soup to a bowl. Using a stick blender, blend everything together then return it back to the pot to thicken the soup a bit. Add chopped cilantro and serve! We had it with Brazilian style rice though it would also be excellent with roti.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Krista February 9, 2012 at 1:17 am

I would definitely want this with roti. 🙂 Delicious and so warming. 🙂
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Alaiyo Kiasi February 9, 2012 at 8:28 am

This “Spicy Urad Dal Soup” looks welcoming and reminds me of the soups in the restaurant where my husband and I had dinners during our months of dating more than 20 years algo. He ate nearly everyday at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. known as “Siddhartha”. I had recently moved to the area from Alabama and had never tried Indian food before. It was wonderfully flavorful, spicy, and warm. The colors captured my attention and my heart (or maybe it was because my soon-to-be husband was on the other side of the table). Wow, it’s amazing how food can bring back memories.

Our anniversary is coming up in March, and he would be thrilled if dinner included this beautiful Dal soup!
Alaiyo Kiasi recently posted..Black-Eyed Peas & Polenta with Minced CollardsMy Profile

Devaki @ weavethousandflavors February 10, 2012 at 10:08 am

Very very nice!!! Urad dal is a fave in our home and Hegui just FYI, we always put a pinch of asafoetida whenever we make urad because it is gassy and asafoetida is Nature’s answer to beano!

Love the flavors – I’d want to bury a whole lotta rice in this lovely!! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY TO YOU AND STEVIE 🙂

mwah mwah

Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
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Heguiberto February 10, 2012 at 11:14 am

Hi Devaki,
Happy Valentine’s to you and family too!
I will make sure I use a bit of asafetida next time. I thought of it but the little container was buried far back in the pantry…

Magic of Spice February 17, 2012 at 8:20 am

What a wonderful soup, and love the flavors! I am going to have to check out that quarterly, sounds like something right up my alley 🙂
And love you presentation as well 🙂
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