Cucumber and Cherry Tomato Lentil Dal

I was feeling homesick recently and was craving my mom’s go-to dal. It’s my favorite and actually my sisters favorite. I usually don’t make it because it never tastes as good as when my mom makes it. But I had all the ingredients at home, so I decided to give it a try. It was delicious and I was proud to say that it was a close second to my mom’s. The lentils taste creamy and buttery and the cherry tomatoes add a burst of tartness and it’s just perfect. This is a recipe so close to my heart because it really does make me feel like home. This dal is made with toor dal, which is a yellow lentil you can easily find in any Asian or Indian store. If you don’t have them, you can substitute any lentil that you have at home. Just be sure to adjust your cooking time based on the lentil you choose.

Ingredients:

  • Toor Dal (1 cup)
  • Cucumber (2, peeled and diced into 1 inch sized pieces)
  • Cherry tomatoes (16 oz)
  • Jalapeño (1, finely chopped)
  • Onion (1, finely chopped)
  • Garlic (12 cloves, finely chopped)
  • Cilantro (1/2 cup, finely chopped)
  • Olive oil (1 tablespoon)
  • Cumin seeds (1 teaspoon)
  • Mustard seeds (1 teaspoon)
  • Tamarind (1-2 strips)
  • Turmeric (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Salt

Recipe (4 servings)

  1. In the Instant Pot on “Sauté” mode, heat the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. Let them toast in the oil for about 1 minute. Add the turmeric and toast for about 30 seconds.
  2. Next add the onion and garlic. Toss for about 5 minutes and until the onions are translucent and fragrant. You can also add the jalapeño at this point.
  3. After the onions are cooked, add the cucumber and the cherry tomatoes. And cook for about 3-4 minutes.
  4. While you’re waiting for that to cook, microwave the tamarind in 2-3 tablespoons of water for about 2 minutes. Then strain the water and add to the Instant Pot. If you don’t have tamarind, you can also just add the juice of one lime. You need something for acid and either will work.
  5. Add the dal to the pot, followed by 1.5 cups of water. Close the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure mode for 12 minutes.
  6. Manually release the pressure when done. Add the chopped cilantro and stir in. Add salt to taste.
  7. Serve in large bowl. This recipe also freezes really well.

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