This is simply a variation on a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's "Taste of India". The original recipe uses spinach, and probably less of it than I use. The quantity of greens is pretty flexible and depends on what I've got. You can really take it either way: a dal garnished with greens, or greens garnished with dal. You can spice it up with more chilli powder, or if you don't take kindly to too much spice, try substituting Aleppo Chili instead. It isn't terribly hot and adds a nice flavour. The toasting of the dal gives the finsihed dish a flavour with some real depth. —innoabrd
skinned mung dal (yellow)
chilli powder (or more to taste)
fresh chillis (hotter or milder, to your taste and availability)
In a medium-hot, dry frying pan, roast the dal, stirring occasionally, more frequently towards the end. They're ready when they start to turn a golden-red.
Rinse the dal a few times and drain.
Put the dal in a sauce pan with the turmeric, bay and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, skim any scum and simmer, partially covered for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until tender.
Add the greens, salt, chilli and a bit more water if needed. Simmer, covered, on low for 30-45 minutes longer. Stirring occasionally as the greens wilt.
Heat the ghee in a small frying pan. When hot, add the panchphoran* and a few seconds later the chillies, cut into 1" pieces. Cook for a minute or so and then pour into the dal, covering the dal quickly in case of spattering.
* Panchphoran is a Bengali spice mixture of whole spices: 2 parts cumin, 2 parts black mustard, 2 parts fennel, 1 part nigella (sometimes called onion seed, but they're not...), and 3/4 part fenugreek. Worth putting together for this recipe, it really adds a lot of flavour.