Dal soup is a classic Indian soup made with red lentils, onion, various spices, and perhaps ginger, orange, or pumpkin. Always a pleasure to prepare and serve.
When we leafed through An Invitation to Indian Cooking (published in 1973) by Madhur Jaffrey we were looking for something special, something new and exciting to prepare. Dal soup was not on our radar until we read her recipe. Interesting! Yellow Split Peas? Cloves? Croutons? Let’s start cooking!
The soup was very tasty and uplifting. The split peas brought structure to the soup, making this soup different compared to lentil-based dal soup. The combination of peas and cloves is one to remember.
We’re always interested in new ways to prepare mushrooms, so when we spotted a recipe with cumin and asafoetida (asafetida) we immediately knew we wanted to prepare this dish. But what is actually asafoetida, and where to buy it?
The first thing to know about asafoetida is that it has an extremely powerful aroma. Its taste and smell are a combination of onion and garlic. We bought 25 grams at Jacob Hooy, which is Amsterdam’s premium shop for spices. The Dutch name is Duivels Drek, and the German name is Stinkasant. Both names are a clear indication of its pungent smell.
Mushrooms, tomatoes, various spices, and asafoetida: we didn’t know what to expect of the dish. The result was delicious, aromatic (in a gentle way), and a tribute to the tomatoes and mushrooms, with a long-lasting taste. We loved it.
An invitation to Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey contains many wonderful recipes. The book includes chapters on meat, chicken, fish, dal, soups, vegetables, chutneys, breads and desserts. Which reminds us of our plan to make Kulfi (ice cream with milk and cardamon pods).
Should it be on your bookshelf? Yes, if you’re looking for a comprehensive introduction to the Indian kitchen, one with reliable, easy-to-follow recipes and contains useful background information.
What You Need (Dal Soup)
– 1 cups of Yellow Split Peas
– 4 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
– 16 Black Peppercorns
– 10 whole Cloves
– ½ teaspoon ground Turmeric
– Lemon wedges
What You Do
Add the unsoaked split peas and the stock to a pan and bring to a boil. Use a slotted spoon to remove the foam, if any. Add the spices to the pan. Mrs. Jaffrey ties the peppercorns and cloves in a cheesecloth. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until the peas are tender. This may take 2+ hours. Remove the peppercorns and the cloves. Press the soup through a strainer or food mill. We used a blender and pulsed the soup, just to get the right consistency. Leave on low heat for 15 minutes. Serve in bowls and garnish with lemon wedges.
The original recipe suggests serving the soup with croutons.
What You Need (Mushrooms with Cumin and Asafetida)
– 1 pound of Mushrooms
– Vegetable Oil
– generous pinch of Asafetida
– ½ teaspoon of Cumin Seeds
– generous pinch of Chilli Flakes
– ¼ teaspoon Ground Turmeric
– 1 cup of Tomato Sauce
– 2 cups of Water
– Basmati Rice
What You Do
Clean the mushrooms with kitchen paper. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the asafetida. After a few seconds add the cumin seeds and some 10 seconds later add the chilli flakes. Stir, add the turmeric and the mushrooms. Gently fry the mushrooms for 1 or 2 minutes, then add the tomato sauce and the water. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. The sauce should be thin, but feel free to reduce (as we did). Remove from heat and leave to integrate for 1 or 2 hours.
Reheat and serve with basmati rice. Mrs. Jaffrey suggest serving the mushrooms with chapatis or pooris. Recipes are included in An invitation to Indian Cooking, obviously!
Thank you Jeen and Michiel for this excellent review. You certainly live up to the name of your blog, Cook and Drink – The Art of Flavors, https://cookanddrink.org.