Whether you spell it Dal, Daal or Dhal, a wise man once said There are probably as many in the world as there are lentils.
Well here are some of them.

Mango Dal
Masoor dal with mango
curry side staple veg
A very interesting Dal. And another recipe from a long-owned and never-used Christmas present from Mum. Glad it's finally being useful.
Thanks Mum!

Serves 4-6

Wash the lentils, then put in a pan with 14 fl oz (400ml) cold water. Bring to the boil, remove any scum that comes to the surface, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes until the lentils have softened and fluffed up. Halfway through the cooking time, add the turmeric, onion, garlic, salt and the mango, plus its stone. Remove the pan from the heat, take out the mango stone and, using a hand whisk, beat the lentils until they are smooth.

Melt the ghee for the tarka in a hot frying pan, add the cumin seeds and allow to sizzle, then add the onion and fry until golden. Stir in the garlic, followed by the coriander and chilli. Stir for a few seconds, add to the cooked dal, and serve.
A lovely combination. Light but rich.
I would never thought of using the mango, but it works beautifully.

I'm less sure of the tarka - particularly the cumin seeds which seem to clash with the smoothness of the dal. Make sure you have enough ghee to float the crispy golden onions, and be sure not to burn them.

Carmen's Dal
curry side staple veg vegan
An excellent dal made by my flatmate Carmen. (A very fussy eater who refused to eat anything I'd cooked!)

Grind the seeds together.
Cook the green lentils in water separately.
Sweat the ground spices, leeks and celery, add the garlic and ginger towards the end.
Add the paste to the beans together with the spinach, turmeric and salt.
Adjust the seasonings, garnish with coriander and serve with cardamom flavoured Basmati rice
I hope I got this mostly right - I'm sure Carmen will tell me if not!

By Me
Coconut Dal
curry side staple veg vegan
A pretty nice dal I made up - the coconut makes if very sweet and mellow. Though you could probably add some whole green chillies to pep it up a bit. Or fry up some dried red ones.

Serves 4

Peel and mince the ginger.
Dice the tomato.
Pierce the cardamoms and fry them in ghee or oil until they sizzle and release their aroma, add the ginger and fry briefly, then add the lentils and stir. When they are well coated, add enough water to cover and the coconut powder, salt, diced tomato, then cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until soft.

Finely slice the onion.
Heat a heavy pan or frying pan, add a generous amount of ghee or oil, fry the fennel seeds until they sizzle and release their aroma. Add the sliced onions and stir over medium heat, stirring occasionally until they are thoroughly caramelised. Don't let them burn!
Spread them on kitchen paper to absorb the oil and pat dry.
Serve the dal dressed with the crisp onion.
Pretty nice, if slightly bland.

Tadka Dal
curry side staple veg
This is the first recipe I tried from a little gift to myself - Indian chef Vineet Bhatia's cookbook from his Michelin-starred restaurant Rasio. Probably also, one of its least impressive recipes - there are others to try which look absolutely gorgeous.

The tarka (or tadka) in the title of this dal, dhal or as the recipe book unusually plumps for daal, means a spicy fry-up added to the lentils just before serving.
I didn't have 3 tablespoons of his onion and tomato masala sitting around so I just fried up 2 tablespoons of tomato purée after the powdered spices then added 2 tablespoons of onion marmalade I'd made earlier, and cooked it all up for a couple of minutes.
I also didn't have 100g moong dal (yellow lentils) on hand so I used all red lentils, with the bonus that they really don't need soaking, meaning the whole thing was ready in 30 minutes.

Otherwise I followed the recipe precisely.
Well, except that I used a whole teaspoon of cumin seeds, rather more garlic, a whole teaspoon of turmeric, and about a half-dozen green chillies which I just sliced into rounds roughly. Oh and I added a half-teaspoon of ground ginger to the powders since I felt I was a bit light on the fresh variety (though I probably did have about a teaspoon).
Otherwise, precisely.

Great recipe!

Serves 4

Wash the lentils under cold running water, then place in a deep pan and cover with 4 times their volume of water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the lentils are soft and broken down, skimming off any scum from the surface; add more water, if necessary, to prevent the lentils sticking to the base of the pan.

Heat the vegetable oil in a separate pan and add the cumins seeds. As they begin to splutter, add the garlic, ginger and green chilli and sauté till the garlic begins to colour lightly. Add the turmeric, red chillie powder and tomato masala, or tomato purée followed by onion marmalade, cook for 2 minutes, then pour the mixture over the lentisl. Season with salt and stir together well.
Add the butter, adjust the seasoning and serve.
Well, it was the way I made it! Unusual for a dal to have a rich tomato paste in it. I thought it went very well. Obviously mine was bit hotter than Vineet's ;)

Adjust the wateryness to your taste, as long as you make sure it's not too thick and stodgy. You can also add shredded spinach at the end.