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I have been seeing a lot of videos by foreigners preparing dal (lentil soup). It makes me so happy to see that a favorite Indian staple is quickly becoming part of restaurant menus and home-based meals. Lentil is the perfect source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. And if you ever visit India, you would find at least 10 different types of dals prepared differently in different states.

The most popular preparation would be – Dal tadka. A mix of toor dal (yellow split pigeon peas) and masoor dal (Red lentils) topped with a tempering of ginger slivers, crushed garlic, dry red chilies, black mustard seeds, and cumin. Red lentil also seems to be the go-to lentil for lentil soups. But I would encourage you to expand your horizons and try – Split & skinned green gram, split & skinned black gram, previously mentioned split yellow pigeon peas, split bengal gram lentil, split green gram, and whole green gram. Almost all of them will have a very similar way to cook them. If you really want to commit to the process, buy yourself Garam masala (easily available online), dry red chilies (check the Asian aisle in your grocery store), cumin, and ghee (clarified butter). A perfect dal taska can be made in under 1 hour and enjoyed with rotis, naans, and on a bed of hot rice (get yourself a pack of basmati rice and thank me later!).

All lentils need a little bit soaking, listing it right below. Soak these warm water for better results:

1. Toor dal: At least 30-45 mins
2. Masoor dal: 15 mins (this cooks the fastest)
3. Yellow moong: 20 mins (this can be mixed with any other lentil to increase quantity, perfect for when you’re running out of things in your pantry)
4. Split bengal gram: At least 40 mins
5. Split green gram: 30-35 mins
6. Whole green gram: 12 hours or overnight
7. Whole black gram: 12 hours or overnight

This wholesome meal is often enjoyed with homemade pickle and if you have it with rice, I guarantee it will wrap you into an afternoon nap!

What’s your most favourite way to consume vegan protein?

Madhu Narayan
Mondays with Madhu
Guest blogger, Plant Life Meals