Sindhi Dal
75 Min

Sindhi Dal

Be it through taste, aroma or touch, food is one of the most visceral ways our brain stores happy memories. The mere smell of chickpea fritters frying in a big vat of oil reminds me of monsoons in India, when pakoras instantly become snack du jour. And despite not having much of a sweet tooth, chickpea flour roasting with ghee to make mithai, an Indian fudgelike sweet, makes me salivate.


On a recent trip to India with my daughter, Ajna, we had one such experience that I will forever cherish. Late into the night after two long flights, we arrived in our hotel in New Delhi, hungry and tired. The only food available was limited room service. We ordered the staple, dal, and rice.


Dal, being a lentil stew popular in virtually every home and restaurant across India, can be made a thousand different ways. That night, the dal was a simple yellow nourishing moong dal flecked with fresh tomatoes and cumin but with a sharp delicious bite of ginger in every spoonful. It was very similar to a dal my mother would make that is native to the province of Sindh, but the copious amount of ginger changed everything about it. Even for a seasoned cook like me, the dal made me tingle with excitement, and we happily licked every drop knowing that it was going to become a staple in my cooking when I returned to Texas.


This dal is currently on my restaurant’s menu, and here is a recipe for it — I urge you to fearlessly put this much ginger.

Share this recipe
Cook Time

75 Minutes



Step 1
Rinse the moong dal lentils 2 to 3 times in water then soak for at least an hour and up to 4 hours. If soaking for longer, refrigerate the soaked lentils. Drain.
Step 2
Combine the lentils with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Foam or scum may rise to the top; using a slotted spoon, discard it. These are the impurities that often lead to stomach upsets while consuming lentils. Alternately, discard the water from the first boil and add fresh water to cook the lentils. At this point, add the turmeric, ginger puree and salt. After the mixture comes to a boil, cover and simmer the lentils for 20 to 30 minutes or until completely soft and dissolved. 
Step 3
In a separate frying pan over high heat, warm the olive oil or ghee and pop the cumin seeds. Immediately add the minced onion and fry it on low to medium heat until they are soft and translucent and have a little bit of color. Next add the garlic, red chili powder and tomatoes and braise on low heat for 10 to 12 minutes until the tomatoes have cooked down. Pour this mixture into the lentils along with the jaggery and slowly simmer the dal for another 10 minutes or more. The consistency should be thick so cook it longer if needed. Turn the heat off and add the minced ginger reserving a little for garnish. Let the dal rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the juice from a lemon and drizzle more olive oil or ghee on top if desired. Finish with minced ginger, herbs, and serve. 
1 cup yellow moong dal 
1 teaspoon ground dried turmeric
2 tablespoons unpeeled ginger purée (see note)
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons olive oil or ghee, more for garnish
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 cup minced white or yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon red chili powder 
2 cups of diced ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons finely diced unpeeled ginger
1 teaspoon grated jaggery
Juice of a lemon 
Herbs for garnish

Notes & Variations

  • To make ginger purée, combine 2 cups of rough chopped unpeeled ginger with 1/2 to 1 cup of water (just enough to cover the top of the ginger) and purée in a blender until smooth. Use the ginger with the water in the dal. 
  • In lieu of fresh tomatoes, use 1 cup of canned crushed tomatoes — I prefer the Mutti brand.
  • This dal can be made with masoor (orange) lentils or with channa dal; however, the cooking time will increase. 
75 Min

Stock Your Pantry

Is your name Jaggery? 'Cause you're really sweet.

Jaggery falls somewhere between molasses and caramel, depending on the season. Not as sweet as refined sugar but just as delicious. Try it out in the below recipes!