You will need:
4 cups Water
1 tbsp minced Ginger, separated
1 – 1 ½ tsp Salt
3 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Oil
½ cup chopped Onion
1 tbsp minced Garlic
1 cup chopped Tomato
½ cup Fresh Cream
Rinse lentils and place in a deep pot. Soak in 4 cups water overnight. If time does not permit, use a quick-soak method of your choice.
To the lentils and 4 cups of water, add the salt, half of the ginger and contents of Bag 1 (cayenne pepper and asafetida). Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. This will take 60-90 minutes depending on desired consistency. (As lentils cook, feel free to add a little water if necessary.) For creamy texture, crush beans with back of spoon. When ready, stir in salt.
In large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the butter and oil. When hot, add contents of Bag 2 (cumin seeds). Stir constantly until seeds turn a shade darker, about 10 seconds. Add the chopped onion. Stirring constantly, cook until light golden, about 6 minutes. Add remaining ginger, garlic and chopped tomato. Cook until tomatoes are well mashed and oil starts to separate, about 10 minutes. Pour contents of the pan over lentils. Add Bag 3 (fenugreek leaves, garam masala and cayenne). Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in fresh cream. Check and correct the seasonings.
Makes 8-10 half-cup servings.
Thin dal can be enjoyed like soup or ladled over rice. Thick dal can be scooped up with warm flatbread, naan or pita crisps.