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Spicy Kadai Dal

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This dal has very good aroma. The wonderful aroma comes from star anise. Star Anise is most popular in Asian cooking, mostly in China. In India, this spice is used in garam masala, biryani masala, dals etc. In China, they use it with soy sauce in meats and poultry dishes. Sometimes, very rarely, chefs use it in sweet dishes.

For this recipe, I used three types of dal with vegetables. Instead of garam masala, I use Kadai masala which is mostly used in sabzis and curries. Sautéed vegetables with Kadai masala and dals gives tasty tour of spices.


  • 1/2 cup Toor Dal
  • 1/3 cup Split Moong
  • 1/4 Chana Dal
  • 2 Green Chili, chopped
  • 1 tsp Garlic, chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp Ginger, grated
  • 1 Small Red Onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Medium Potato, boiled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower, cooked and cut into pieces
  • 2 tbsp Green Peas, boiled
  • 2 Medium Tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tbsp Dhania-Jeera Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Asafetida
  • 1 tsp Kadai Masal
  • 1 tsp Amchur Powder (dry Mango Powder)
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 1 tsp Scallion
  • 3 tbsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 5-6 Curry Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chili Powder
  • 1 small Red Chili, whole
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Asafetida
  • Salt to taste

1. Soak dals for 1 hour. Drain well.

2. Pressure cook dals with genrous amount of water. Whisk lightly after cooked. Chana Dal, eventhough cooked, does not mix completely with other dals, which gives nutty flavor.

3. Heat oil in deep kadai. Add mustard seeds. When they crackle, add cumin seeds, curry leaves. Then turn down the heat. Now add whole red chili, red chili powder, and pinch of Asafetida.

4. Immediately add ginger, garlic, onion, little salt, and let it sauté for 2-3 minutes.

5. Add tomato, turmeric powder, red chili powder, kadai masala, green chili, asafoetida,1 star anise, dhania-jeera powder, and cook on medium heat until tomatoes loosen up and they look like they are part of gravy.

6. Now add red bell pepper, potato, green peas, cauliflower, scallions. Mix well with cooked gravy. Put lid on kadai and leave it for 5 -6 minutes on low heat.

7. After 5 minutes, add cooked dals with 2 cups of water.

8. Now add salt, amchur powder, remaining 1 star anise, lemon juice and whisk lightly with ladle and bring it to boil. Star anise has very strong flaver so use it appropriately.

9. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot.


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