Shopping at food markets around Rome is always inspirational to me. I love to cook and when I feel like making something un-Italian, I head over to the market at Piazza Vittorio. It offers local and seasonal fruit and vegetables as well as international ingredients.
After a quick chat with my go-to-spice vendor, I decided to create a lemon daal recipe. Moong daal are popular in Indian cooking, the ultimate spicy comfort food. I like to serve it over basmati rice with yogurt.
All measurements are approximate. I adjust them to taste.
Ingredients:500 grams yellow daal lentils (rinsed well & soaked for 1-2 hours) Juice from 1 lemon 1 large onion, finely diced 2 Cinnamon sticks 4-5 Cardamom pods 1-2 tsp Cumin seeds 1-2 tsp Coriander seeds 1-2 tsp Cloves Fresh ginger to taste, grated Green chili peppers to taste, chopped Tumeric, 1 pinch 1-2 Bay leaves crushed Vegetable or seed oil Salt to taste
Heat oil in a pan. Sauté onion, cinnamon sticks, cumin and coriander seeds, cloves and bay leaves together over low heat, taking care not to burn the spices. Stir occasionally until the ingredients turn a few shades darker. Add cardamom pods & cook for approximately 2 minutes.
Add daal and enough water to cover it. Don’t worry about adding too much water. You’ll probably need to add more later on. Bring to a simmer. Add chili pepper, ginger, lemon juice, a pinch of tumeric powder & salt to taste. I sometimes add halved lemons, letting them cook with the daal. Cook for approximately 1 – 1.5 hours depending on desired consistency. Serve warm over rice.
Be sure to make extra – it tastes even better the next day!