Inexpensive, low in calories, and high in fiber and protein — Dal is a “trifecta” food! There are so many ways to cook Dal. So aside from the basics (ginger, garlic, and some kind of curry), it’s a perfect dish to clean out the veggie drawer and create something new each time. Substitutes to try: old carrots, a random parsnip, the summer overload of zucchini, aging red pepper, etc. Be creative and make it your own!
Buy curry powder in bulk in the international food section rather than the spice aisle to save on cost. Or in a pinch, combine bulk cumin, turmeric, pepper, etc.
Prepare dal:Place dal in a dry 3 - 4 quart saucepan and examine for and remove any impurities (rocks, shells, etc). Add 3 cups boiling water, bouillon cubes (or salt). Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cover and simmer (30 minutes for chana, 15 minutes for masoor), adding additional water if needed. Prepare flavor: Slice onion and celery, peel ginger with a spoon and slice, chop or crush garlic. Warm a deep skillet or wok over medium heat. Add olive oil. Sauté onion, ginger and garlic 2 - 3 minutes. Add curry just before the onions are soft and cook until soft. Add canned tomatoes.Use a spatula to free the goodness from the bottom of the pan. Check the dal, if it is ready (al-dente), add it to the skillet. Turn down heat to low / simmer. Add the protein or leftovers, warm for 1 - 2 minutes. Add the greens, reserving a few sprigs for garnish. Cover and warm for 3 - 5 minutes.