This delicious stewed dish strikes an elegant balance between sweet and tart flavors.

Yield: serves 4


  • 1 cup toor dal
  • 14 cup ghee or peanut oil
  • 14 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 34 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 12 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 14 tsp. asafetida
  • 14 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 16 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 chiles de arbol, broken in half
  • 2 plum tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp. finely chopped jaggery or packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. tamarind concentrate
  • 2 tsp. hot paprika
  • 1 tsp. tumeric
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. roughly chopped cilantro


  1. Bring dal and 9 1⁄2 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring, until tender, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, vigorously stir dal to mash it up; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, melt ghee in a 12″ skillet over high heat. Add peanuts, cumin, mustard seeds, asafetida, fenugreek, curry leaves, chiles, and tomatoes; cook until fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Pour spice mixture into dal with jaggery, tamarind, paprika, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and lemon juice. Season with salt. Simmer until flavors meld, about 10 minutes. (Stir in a little water, if necessary; it should be soupy.) Garnish with cilantro.