This hearty, smooth dal soup with its pleasant lemony taste and chunks of vegetables is ideal as a tasty accompaniment to either a simple or elaborate menu. Serves 40.
2 kg mixed dried dal
12 – 15 litres water
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons hot green chili, chopped, or to taste
8 bay leaves
2 – 3 tablespoons turmeric
1 cup ghee or oil 2 – 4kg chopped mixed vegetables like pumpkin, potato etc 2 – 3 tablespoons salt 1.5 cups lemon or lime juice 2 – 3 tablespoons black mustard seeds 2 – 3 tablespoons cumin seeds 1 – 2 tablespoons fenugreek seeds 1 tablespoon yellow asafoetida powder large handful fresh or dried curry leaves 4 tablespoons brown sugar 2 – 3 cups fresh chopped herbs
Wash the dal.
Bring to the boil the dal, water, ginger, chili, bay leaves, turmeric, and 2 tablespoons ghee or oil in a heavy saucepan over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and boil for 1 to 1½ hours or until the dal become soft.
Add the vegetables and cook for another 10-20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and tender.
Heat the remaining ghee or oil in a small pan over moderately high heat. Saute the mustard seeds in the hot oil until they crackle. Add the cumin seeds and toast until they turn dark golden brown. Add the fenugreek seeds. When they darken, add the asafoetida and curry leaves, stir once, and empty the contents of the pan into the cooked dal.
Stir in the brown sugar and stir well. Let the dal sit for 1 or 2 minutes; then add the chopped herbs. Serve hot.