Dal soup is essentially a lentil dish. Dal or Dhal is both ingredient and dish and referred to lentils or split peas that are heavily seasoned with traditional Indian spices and simmered until nicely broken down. This recipe is for the red lentil dal.
One of the many things I like about red lentils is that they cook quickly. Brown and green lentil cousins are more robust and hold up really well when cooked, red lentils quickly fall apart into a smooth mush-like consistency. So they are a perfect choice for a quick and easy soup that comes together in a breezy time and don’t need long stewing times.
Like many Vegetarian Indian dishes Dal Soup is one of foods that is absolutely delicious and very healthy at the same time.
It tastes as cozy and comforting, as a creamy high-calorie bisque, has the same wonderful silky texture but is less filling and heavy. The ingredients sound exotic but actually are widely available and easy to find. The recipe is also quite flexible and forgiving. Many of the spices can be omitted or substituted and the same goes for the quantities of them.
Most of the flavors and the aromas of the soup come from the seasonings traditionally used in Indian cuisine. Red lentils are mild and delicate in flavors and are a perfect carriers for the bold, fragrant Indian spices. One of them is turmeric. It has powerful medicinal compounds and is delicately aromatic with scents of orange and ginger. It also adds a stunning hint of orange color to the dish. Cumin has rich, nutty pungency that is a perfect compliment to the neutral lentils. Coriander seed is sweet and toasty with a warm aroma and flavor. There is also black mustard seeds, onions, fresh ginger root, green chili and just a touch of cayenne pepper for a heat kick.