In a move to popularize the use and intake, 2016 was declared by the United Nations as the ‘Year of the Pulses’. The aim of this was “to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition”.
Dals, pulses/legumes are a staple in the Indian diet for years, but it has not a popular food item internationally. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO): “In a balanced and diverse diet, the nutritious seeds can be consumed every day alongside fruit, vegetables, herbs, cereals and other fresh foods. Pulses provide an affordable alternative to animal protein. Additionally, they are rich in dietary fibre, vitamin B complex, and minerals, such as calcium, zinc, and iron.Food and nutrition education can promote the consumption of pulses.Food and nutrition education programs are crucial for teaching adequate pulse consumption in order to maximize the absorption of nutrients: For example, matching pulses with cereals to obtain a complete protein, consuming them with vitamin C (e.g. ascorbic acid) in order to increase iron absorption and avoiding to eat them with tea or coffee which, in contrast, would limit it “. Researchers have shown that eating whole pulses and lentils can lower cholesterol levels.
Ingredients for Sabut Masoor ki dal:
- Whole pink lentil (sabut masoor): 1 cup (washed and soaked for an hour)
- Onion: 2 medium (diced)
- Tomatoes: 3 nos.
- Ginger: 1 ‘ piece
- Garlic: 3-4 nos.
- Green chili: 1-2 (as per your heat tolerance)
- Coriander/cilantro leaves: 3-4 tbsp chopped
- Garam masala: 1 tsp
- Chole Masala: 3 tsp (or as per your taste)
- Oil: 2tsp
- Jeera/cumin seeds: 2 tsp
- Bay leaf: 1no.
- turmeric: 1tsp
- Hing/asafoetida: a pinch
- Salt: to taste
- Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, when it is hot add the jeera/cumin seeds, bay leaf, turmeric powder and hing.
- Add the onions and fry till they start turning brown. In the meanwhile, puree the tomatoes with the ginger,garlic and green chilies.
- When the onions start to brown, add the puree, the garam masala, chole masala, salt and stir till the oil leaves the sides.
- Drain the soaked sabut masoor and add them to the masala. Mix well, then add two cups of water.
- Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook for one whistle. Switch off.
- Let the pressure drop, then open the lid, check for spices, salt. If it’s too thick you can add a little water and simmer for a few minutes.
- Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice or rotis.
To make a soup– Follow the same method but add a cup of seasonal mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots, cauliflower, etc) and chopped spinach when you add the sabut masoor/pink lentils (Step 4). Then close and pressure cook for one whistle. When you open the cooker, add water to make it into a soup consistency and let it simmer. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leave and add a dash of lime. Serve hot. Makes a very filling soup.