This may not be a unique recipe, but was so different to me about 5 years back (during my memorable student days), when I made this one fine day - just by following my instincts for the use of ingredients, as I got terribly bored of the plain dhal that I used to make. Later on I came to know that many people make dhal this way. Nevertheless, I'm going to have it here just for old times sake :-).
Ingredients (about 2 - 3 servings):
Uncooked toor dhal - 1 cup (using a measuring cup)
Cooking oil - 2 tablespoons
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Green chillies - 2 to 3 finely chopped
Urad dhal - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida - 1/4 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon (vary this to suit your taste)
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Onion - 1 medium sized finely chopped
Tomato - 1 medium sized finely chopped
Curry leaves - a few
Cilantro for garnish - a few strands finely chopped
Salt to taste
1. Pressure cook toor dhal with turmeric powder in 3 cups (using a measuring cup) of water (I normally use dhal and water in the ratio 1:3) for about 3 whistles and set aside.
2. In a pan, heat some cooking oil, pop mustard seeds, add cumin seeds, urad dhal, chopped green chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves and fry until the urad dhal turns light golden brown in color.
3. To step 2, add the chopped onions and fry until they turn golden brown.
4. Add the tomatoes to step 3 and fry until they get cooked.
5. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder and some salt to the contents of the pan from step 4 and fry for a couple of minutes.
6. Transfer the contents from step 5 to the pressure cooked dhal, mix well (you can add some water if the dhal is too thick), bring it to a boil and turn off the stove.
7. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with hot, steamed rice or rotis.
Sometimes, I add about a teaspoon each of finely chopped ginger and finely chopped garlic to step 2 for a variation in flavor.
Rita, an amazing friend of mine, makes this dhal regularly. She uses all kinds of lentils in her recipe and it tastes great! :-).