Mulligatawny with Sweet-n-Sour Tomato Compote

Recipe courtesy Naomi J. Mobed

1 cup toor dal
4 cups tepid water
4 oz vegetable oil
4-5 tbsp oil or ghee
1 tsp freshly grated or minced ginger
1 tsp freshly grated or minced garlic
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1 plum or 2 vine tomato, diced into small cubes
2-3 Thai birds eye chilis, diced with seeds
9 fresh curry leaves
small knob of unsalted butter
1 vidalia onion, julienned
¾ cup coriander leaves, chopped (for garnish)
kosher or sea salt, to taste
Le Bon Magot Tomato and White Sultana Chutney, for garnish

Serves 4 if eaten as a soup

This traditional pigeon pea (or toor dal, in Hindi, and toover dal in Gujerati) lentil soup can be eaten with rice if served thicker or as a traditional “shorba” or soup. It has diced tomatoes in the tarka or seasoning tempered in butter or ghee (clarified butter).

Wash the toor dal and place in pressure cooker with 4 cups of water.  Add grated ginger, garlic turmeric and salt.  For speed, cook until steam releases from the valve of the pressure cooker (approximately 10-15 minutes, subject to size and type of cooker). Cook for a further 5 minutes.

While dal is cooking, start preparing the fried onions. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium-size heavy-based saucepan. When very hot, carefully add the sliced onion. Fry for five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon, until the onion takes on a nice, golden-brown color and turns crispy. Use the spoon to transfer the onion to a colander and sprinkle with salt. Once dal is cooked, set aside, prepare a small pan to temper spices.

Toast cumin seeds stove top in pan and set aside. Heat ghee in pan and add toasted cumin seeds. When they start to splutter, add the green chillies, curry leaves and tomato. Then, sauté for 20 seconds. Add seasoning to the dal or soup. Set aside.

Before serving, heat soup on low to medium heat, add butter and garnish with fried onions, coriander leaves, and a quenelle of Le Bon Magot Tomato and White Sultana Chutney.

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