What is Dahl: It is a dish made of long-cooked “pulses,” or lentils. These pulses are usually split and hulled and cooked with clarified butter, or ghee, and spices until they make a thick stew.
When I first learned to cook, trying to understand dhal seemed like such a complicated foreign language to me.
English recipes kept saying lentils, lentils and the only lentils I was used to was the brown ones, then some recipes said split peas and again, I am used to split peas being in soup, so you can see where my confusion came, I learned that dhals are a form of lentils and a form of split peas.
And if you thought that was the difficult part there are even more types of dhals, from oil dhal, chana dhal, yellow moong dhal, green mong dhal, pea dhal and so on and so on.
The only dhal that I am used to cooking with is yellow moong dhal, it is just so quick to cook, pea and chana dhal, I use in vaddee.
I have always heard my mother use the word “Wedding dhal” and again when she was trying to explain to me, she lost me at the ingredients.
I kept thinking wedding dhal was dhal that was cooked at weddings, hence the name wedding dhal lol
When my dad’s friend came from Durban, he brought me some fresh Indian veg and some baby brinjals, which inspired me to try my hand at making wedding dhal.
I finally managed to sit down and have a look at the recipe and it’s really simple and it tasted delicious for my very first attempt.
2 cup chana dhal, boiled in plain water till soft enough to break under gentle pressure from your fingertip, drain and set aside.
2 baby brinjals, sliced lengthwise.
1 onion, finely chopped.
1 tsp ginger and garlic paste.
½ tsp turmeric powder.
1 tsp masala.
2 cinnamon sticks.
Salt to taste.
400ml tap water.
Heat some oil in a pan.
Add the onions, cinnamon sticks, aniseed and ginger, and garlic.
Fry until the onion starts to brown slightly.
Season and mix well.
Add masala and turmeric powder, mix so that everything is nicely coated.
Add dhal, brinjals, and water.
Stir and mix well.
Allow to cook on a medium heat, until brinjals are soft, dhal is soft and most of the water has cooked away.
Prepared, tried and tested by Bobby Swanson
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