I am crazy about the little baby red onions (sometimes labled shallots and sometimes pearl onions) found in the local international grocery. I love them in any incarnation. I first saw them in Indira’s recipe for sambhar with shallots. All it took was one try, and I was hooked on the sweet taste of these onions. They are nothing like the rather harsh, white boiling onions one sees in the markets around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Preparing either is a labor of love, but while the baby reds thank you with every bite, the whites bite you back every time. I’ve lived long enough to make that a no-brainer sort of choice — reds it is!
The methi was fresh, and the onions had been parboiled and were in the fridge awaiting peeling, so the only thing leftover here was the cooked dal.
I guess the dish still qualifies for the name. Once the onions are peeled and the methi is chopped, this comes together in a flash.
chopped fresh methi leaves and baby red onions in jewel-like tones of amethyst
Toor Dal with Methi and Baby Onions
1 1/2 – 2c cooked toor dal**
1 bunch fresh methi
1 small package baby red onions
water as needed
salt to taste
1 tsp ghee or oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
1 dried red chile, seeded
Wash the onions and drop them into boiling water for just a minute or two. Drain. When cool enough to handle, peel and set aside.
Wash methi well and chop leaves roughly, set that aside.
Heat ghee or oil over medium heat in medium saucepan. Add mustard seeds. When the mustard pops, add urad dal and reduce heat to med-low. Add dried red chile. Saute a few minutes until dal is nicely colored and chile is dark.
Add methi and stir-fry a minute or two, until it begins to wilt. Add baby onions and stir them around a few minutes. Add the cooked dal. If mixture is too thick, add a small amount of water. Stir well, cover, and cook 15-20 minutes, until onions are tender and dal is heated through.
Serve hot with rice.
**I had dal which had been cooked with green chiles, salt, and turmeric. I didn’t need additional heat. More chiles/chile powder can be added to taste.
Check out another delicious baby onion dish — Priya’s Shallots Curry.