ROASTED MOONG DAL WITH SPINACH
1 cup skinned moong dal
1⁄2 teaspoon. ground turmeric
1 bay leaf
3⁄4 lb. spinach, washed and cut into 1⁄2 in wide shreds
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon. red chili powder
1 teaspoon. vegetable oil
1⁄2 teaspoon. cumin seeds
2 fresh, hot red or green chilies, cut into 1 in. pieces
Pick over the dal. Put it on a clean tea towel. Rub it gently to remove as much surface dust as possible. Heat a cast-iron frying pan over a medium-low flame. Allow it to get hot and then put the dal in it. Stir and roast until many of the grainsturn golden-red. (The colour will not be uniform, but that is all right.) Put the roasted dal in a bowl and wash it in several changes of water. Drain.
Put the dal in a heavy-based pan. Add the turmeric, bay leaf and 1⁄4 cups of water. Stir and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low, cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and cook gently for about 1 hour until the grains are quite tender.
Add the spinach, salt, red chilli powder and 2⁄3 cup of water. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice during this cooking period.
Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan or frying pan. When hot, put in the cumin seeds. A few seconds later, when the seeds start to pop and sizzle, put in the red or green chillies. Stir once and then pour the contents of the small pan or frying pan over the cooked dal. Cover immediately.