Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mango Dal

Lentils don't appear to be a particularly interesting food group, but India has given them a whole new life in the form of dal.  Dal takes something ordinary and makes it virtually unrecognizable.  There is a huge variety of types of dal, and I don't pretend to know even a fraction of them.  But I will say that today I tried a type I'd never had before, and I made it in my own kitchen. 

Dal, meet mango.  I understand from some rudimentary internet research that it is actually a very traditional dish, but my passion for Indian food had yet to take me here.  Put my favorite fruit into a lentil dish?  I'm there. 

This is a spicy, warm dish that you simply have to try.  Every bite is packed with unexpected flavor.  Ginger and mango naturally go together - they are soul mates.  Add in traditional Indian spices like cumin and coriander, and you're well on your way.  The fresh bite of cilantro finishes the whole thing off.  Lentils are ordinary no longer!

Note:  Don't wait for all the liquid to be absorbed - this is meant to be a slightly soupy dal.

Mango Dal
adapted from Eating Well magazine
serves 2-3


1/2 cup yellow or green lentils (I used green)
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
pinch cayenne pepper
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1.  Rinse lentils in a colander and drain.  Combine with 2 cups of water, 1/4 teaspoon salt and turmeric in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, coriander, and cayenne, and cook for an additional minute.

3.  Add the onion mixture and the diced mango to the pot of lentils and stir to combine.  Bring back to a simmer and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until lentils are very tender and starting to fall apart.  Stir in cilantro and serve.



  1. Interesting combination of flavors.
    Looks so good.

  2. If I had caught a whiff of the aromas from this one I would have been there too ..............
    it sounds wonderful.