You will need:
4 cups Water
1 – 1 ½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
¾ cup chopped Tomato
1 tbsp Oil
¾ cup chopped Onion
1 tsp minced Garlic
2 tbsp chopped Fresh Cilantro -- or --
1 cup Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
Rinse lentils and place in a deep pot. Add 4 cups of water and the contents of Bag 1 (turmeric and asafetida). Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. This will take 30-45 minutes depending on desired consistency. (As lentils cook, feel free to add a little water if necessary.) When ready, stir in salt, sugar and chopped tomato. Continue simmering until tomato is soft, about 10 more minutes.
In a small frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the 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 and garlic. Stirring constantly, cook until light golden, about 6 minutes. Add the contents of Bag 3 (garam masala and cayenne). Stir just to mix and then pour entire contents over the lentils. Add the chopped cilantro or spinach leaves. (If using spinach, stir until leaves wilt.) 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.