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Split Moong Dal with Masala

 Split Moong Dal with Masala

Over the last few days, I have been thinking about what to make for you (formerly known as procrastination). While snooping around the back alleys of my shelves, I had an “Ah Ha” moment, as Oprah would say. While discovering a bag of Indian yellow split peas tucked away in the cupboard behind various food stuffs may not rank in your top ten “Ah Ha” moments, I’ll take what the universe has offered me, be grateful, and run with it. I make monthly visits to my favorite Indian grocery, The Samosa House in Culver City to load up on chutneys, spices, 5 pound bags of basmati rice,  chapatis, naan breads, and English biscuits and teas (my husband Toby cannot live without McVities Chocolate Covered Digestive Biscuits with a cup of Earl Grey). Somehow, with all of my stash of goodies, I got sidetracked and forgot to make Dal for the family. I will now seize the day and make a delicious vegan and ayurvedic soup that will cleanse your body, heart, and soul.

We are in the midst of June Gloom in Los Angeles, which inspired me to share a hearty, vegan soup for you. June Gloom translation? In the month of June, our skies are covered with a thick marine layer that gives us grey skies for most of the day. “Oh, boo hoo,” I can hear you say. Yes, it’s true, apart from this month, we enjoy mostly clear blues skies In L.A., so there really isn’t much to complain about. Before you start reaching for rotten tomatoes to throw, I shall move on with much speed.

The recipe is from a wonderful book, “Ayurvedic Healing Cuisine,” by Harish Johari. I bought it at my home away from home, Yoga Works, a few years ago. This soup is absolutely gorgeous. I am eating as I write, attempting to type in between bites. It’s damn near impossible. The toasted cumin seeds, cardamon seeds, soft yellow split peas, with a hint of saffron is rolling around my tongue and sending me straight to heaven. I’m going to finish this post so I can have another bowl. Sorry.

Split Moong Dal with Masala
4 cups filtered water
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cilantro (coriander)
1/2 teaspoon himalayan pink seas salt (my new thing. don’t worry, I’ll get over it) or celtic sea salt
1 cup split pea yellow split peas sorted, rinsed, and drained

seeds of 1 black cardamon pod
4 whole cloves
4-6 bay leaves, crumbled
8 black peppercorns
pinch of saffron

1 tablespoon of ghee (the cheap as chips method: melt a stick of butter and strain through a cheesecloth)
1 teaspoon black cumin seeds

1. In a big pot, bring the water to boil. Add the turmeric, cilantro, and salt. Add the split peas, then cover and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes, or until the dal is soft. 
2. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the tarka, and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir and remove from heat.
3. Prepare the tarka by heating the ghee in a pan, adding the cumin seeds and saute until toasted and fragrant.
4. Add the tarka to the dal, stir once, and cover immediately with a tight-fitting lid. Allow to stand for a few minutes for the flavors to blend. 

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