Clockwise from top: stir-fried cabbage, stir-fried squash, avocado (it's sort of like a raita...right?), whole wheat lavash (sort of like chapati?), dal with ginger and lime (recipe follows), cilantro-coconut chutney. Not pictured: spicy mustard greens with coconut.
So, this is the best dal I've ever made. I would eat it like I eat ice cream. Just not in a cone. This dal is great partly because I used yellow split peas, which had an incredible creamy texture, instead of my usual brown lentils. I think it also has to do with the cooking method, however: usually, I start by sauteing onion, garlic, spices, etc. in oil and then adding water and lentils. In this recipe (and apparently in most dal recipes) you do it the opposite way: boil the legumes and add an oily spice flavor extravaganza at the end--a tempering oil.
(adapted from Indian Home Cooking)
1 c yellow split peas
1/2 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp salt
4 c water
2 1/2 TB canola oil
1 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
5 hot cherry peppers, minced (substitution for 2 whole dried chilis and 1 fresh green chili)
1 TB minced fresh ginger (or more)
1 tsp minced garlic
cayenne to taste
juice of 1/2 lime (or more)
cilantro (I didn't have this)
1. Boil legumes in water with salt and turmeric. Yellow split peas will take up to 45 minutes. Mash some.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry cumin seeds first, then add remaining ingredients (except lime juice). Cook only a few minutes.
3. When legumes are ready, stir in the lime juice and most of the oil mixture, reserving some of the latter. Top in serving bowls with remaining oil mixture and cilantro. Serves 4.