Everyday dal with potato cakes recipe

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A dal is an Indian soup or stew made of split lentils. The dal is flavored with some spices as it cooks, but the real flavor comes at the end with the addition of tempered spices and herbs. There are several Indian dishes that serve potato cakes with a dal poured over them, but I recommend dipping the cakes into the dal to keep them crisp throughout the meal.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 4 cups water
  • 1½ cups red lentils (masoor dal), picked over and rinsed
  • ½ medium ripe tomato, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
Potato Cakes
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold or other waxy potatoes (about 4 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds, preferably black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 5 curry leaves (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon asafoetida (optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ medium ripe tomato, finely chopped
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
How to Make It
  1. Combine the water, dal, tomato, and turmeric in a medium saucepan. Cover, bring to boil and reduce to simmer over medium heat. Partially cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Using a whisk, whip the dal until smooth.
  2. Potato Cakes
  3. Combine the potato, salt, and enough water to cover in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, reduce to medium, and cook until knife-tender; do not overcook. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Mash the potato. Set aside.
  4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the carrot and onion. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the carrot mixture to the mashed potatoes. Add the flour and season with salt and pepper and mix well. Heat about 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Divide the mashed potato mixture into 1/4 cup portions and form each portion into a patty about 1-inch thick. Cook the patties until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.
  5. Spices
  6. Heat the oil in a small or medium skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin, mustard, red pepper flakes, curry leaves and asafoetida, if using. Cook, stirring, until the mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato and cook until it starts breaking down, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato mixture to the whipped dal. Add the spinach to the dal and simmer until the spinach is tender, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve the dal in bowls with the potato cakes.

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