Lemon Daal, Un-Italian Comfort Food

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.


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!


, , , ,

0 Responses to Lemon Daal, Un-Italian Comfort Food

  1. Natalia November 18, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    YUM! I have to try this.

    • gina November 18, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

      @natalia It’s delicious, the lemon juice gives it a great zing : )

  2. Petulia November 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    thank you for sharing! Cannot wait to make it:-)

    • gina November 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

      @petulia let me know how it turns out!

Leave a Reply