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Menus and Memories from Punjab
by Veronica Sidhu

Peelee Daal Te Bangan
Our favorite Indian restaurant in Mountainside, New Jersey, is Raagini. The chef. Sat Nam Singh, served this dish and I promptly went home and tried to copy it. It is so easy and fast that I'm sure it will become one of your favorites also (vegan)
Yield: eight ½-cup servings


    For the lentils:
    • 2 cups yellow (split) mung lentils (hulled moongee are best but masoor daal [red lentils] would do)
    • 6 cups cold water
    • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
    • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric

    For the eggplant:
    • 2 (long) Chinese eggplants, stem ends removed
    • 3/4 cup canola oil for frying
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground toasted cumin seeds
    • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
    • 1/2 teaspoon green mango powder or 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    For the tempering or tardka:
    • 1/4 cup canola oil (leftover from frying the eggplant)
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2-inch piece ginger, grated
    • 1 tablespoon sliced cilantro leaves


For the lentils: Check the lentils for any debris or stones and rinse thoroughly In a large pot, bring all the lentil ingredients to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and continue cooking until the lentils are creamy, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For the eggplants: Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and then diagonally into 2 inch chunks. Heat the oil in a wok until nearly smoking. Add half the chunks and saute until brown. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining eggplant. Mix the cumin, garam masala, mango powder, and salt together and sprinkle on the eggplant slices. Just before serving, stir them into the hot lentils.

For the tardka: In a medium skillet, heat the oil leftover from frying the eggplant, add the onion, garlic, and ginger and saute until golden brown. Stir into the lentil mixture just before serving. Garnish with cilantro.

Variation: To make Yellow Mung Lentils with Spinach (Peelee Daal Te Paalak), instead of the eggplant mixture add 7 ounces of baby spinach and the tardka to the creamy, cooked lentils.


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