Val Dal with Tindora

I wanted to try frozen tindora. I was interested to see how it measured up against fresh.

I also wanted to try val dal, which I have only seen mentioned a few times in recipes ~ mostly for dhansak ~ and also in this lovely display from One Hot Stove.

I decided to try the two, frozen tindora and val dal, together, with just a few seasonings.

val dal dry and soaked


Here is what I used:

1 sm bag frozen tindora

1 c val dal, split
3 c water
1 tsp sea salt (from Trader Joe’s, was disappointed in this salt)

1 TB ginger-garlic paste
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 tsp ghee

1 tsp each mustard and cumin seeds, plus a few curry leaves, sauteed in 1 tsp ghee

1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder


Soak dal in warm water for at least one hour.

Boil frozen tindora in salted water about 15 minutes ~ the tindora should be cooked but not complete mush. Set that aside.

Saute onion and ginger-garlic paste in ghee for a few minutes, then add drained and rinsed val dal, salt, and three cups water. Cook all over high heat 20 minutes. The fresh, legume-y scent of the dal led me to believe it might cook quicker than some other dals, so I did not bother taking out the pressure cooker. Instead, after 20 minutes, I improvised: turned the cover of pan upside-down and put heavy can of tomatoes on top. Voila! Instant pressure-cooker. Once this is done you must reduce heat to medium at most, and be sure there is sufficient water or the dal will stick and burn. Your hands will burn as well, without a potholder to remove this contraption.

Cook the dal in this manner for 20 minutes longer, adding another cup of water halfway through.

When dal is thoroughly cooked, add 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp turmeric (for color mostly as val dal cooked up whitish), and additional salt to taste. Add a cup of the previously cooked tindora, and then stir in the tempering/tadka of mustard, cumin and curry leaves cooked in small amount of ghee.


small cast iron pan from cape cod

This little iron pan came from my grandmother ~ she never used it to toast cumin seeds, but it’s the perfect size!


val dal with tindora

The finished dal was delicious. I didn’t add too much extra water, so it was quite thick and hearty. The flavor was very fresh and made a nice background for the tindora. A little coriander chutney (store bought) and some homemade eggplant and radish pickle added a little zing on the side.


daisy is camera shy

Daisy, playing camera-shy in the kitchen…



  1. Luv2cook said


    Never tried dal with Tindora before! Just shows how versatile dals are :).

  2. just discovered your blog! I’m an ex-michiganer (ann arbor). Tindora is my all time favorite vegetable. I usually make it as a dry stir fry to go with the dal. I don’t even bother defrosting the frozen bag…just throw it in with the spices and let it do its thing!! you’d be amazed at how well it cooks up this way ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Luv2cook: I’m just beginning to discover all the great things one can do with dals — your yu choy dal is definitely my try-soon list ๐Ÿ™‚

    Saffron Hut: Thanks for looking in! Michigan is my home state but I’ve just rediscovered it in the past few years. Many great places to visit! I will try a dry fry with the last bag of frozen tindora ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. anna said

    Hey! You really an amazing cook, taking up Indian cooking onhand and doing meticulous job, kudos to you.
    All your recipes are cool and i have a question for you, where do you get that toastiing cast iron pan(i know you mentioning it from your granny), can you please let me know the exact name of it and where did your granny buy it. I been looking for it long time and my luck is in vein? I do appreciate if you know any shops selling them online/offline. thankyou so much.

  5. anna said

    Can you let me know its size(dimension details. Thanks again.

  6. Hi anna, thank you for the kind words. I am certainly learning alot around here. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am sorry, I don’t know where my grandmother got that pan. It was always in her kitchen from when I was a child, and she gave it to me when I set up my first kitchen. It is about 5-6 inches in diameter, and an inch high.

    I see cast iron pans for sale often at flea markets, yard sales, etc. It is a little hard to find a small one, I know. You might try a google search for “cast iron pans”. I don’t know where you are located, but some others have found them at Target. Hope this helps.

  7. AlliBaba said

    This pan is available on Amazon, it’s called the Lodge Logic Miniature Skillet.

  8. tanishq said

    How do you get the bitter taste out of the val dal? My husband and I enjoy all kinds of lentils but the bitter ” slight kadva ” after taste is something I’d like to get rid off .
    Any suggestions ??

    Sorry, T, I can’t really help you because I have never found the val to be bitter… ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for stopping!

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