This month's theme for Jihva for Ingredients, hosted by Rosie of What's the recipe today Jim? is the...herb? vegetable? spice? ginger. A knobby, gnarly, ugly root that is beloved by so many cuisines. Just the word ginger gives me a warm, cozy, delicious feeling. [It also makes me want to run and hide from my parents' crazy, over-sized, hyperactive Doberman Pinscher named "Ginger" but that is a story for another day]
Truly, ginger brings a lot to the table. My favorite way to consume it in vast quantities these days is via Trader Joe's triple ginger cookies, addictive little morsels jammed with fresh, ground and crystallized sugar. These are the only cookies in the world that I enjoy eating on a regular basis (apart from Parle G, that is).
Today, I am making the simplest preparation with ginger: what should be properly called a rasam-inspired ginger-lemon dal, for it uses more dal than rasams do. A simple lentil preparation with typical Southern Indian spices, it contains plenty of lemon juice and minced fresh ginger. With some freshly steamed rice, it makes a homely meal. By itself, sipped as a soup, it has magical properties: it can clear up sinuses, banish the winter blues, perk up jaded palates and warm you from the inside out.
Oh, and I also want to share my favorite ginger-related kitchen tip: peeling ginger with a small spoon. It really works!
1. Soak 3/4 cup of toor dal for 10-15 minutes, then rinse it well and cook it on the stove-top or pressure cooker and set aside.
2. Heat 1 tsp oil. Make the tempering using: 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of asafoetida, 5-6 curry leaves, 1 dry red chili broken in half.
3. Add 1 tbsp very finely minced fresh ginger, 1/2 tsp turmeric and stir, then immediately add 1/4 cup diced tomato (fresh or canned) and salt to taste.
4. Stir in 1 tsp sambar powder and the cooked dal.
5. Add 2-3 cups of water to make a fairly dilute dal. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
6. Remove from heat, then add the juice of one fresh lemon and garnish with minced cilantro. Serve piping hot as a soup or a dal!
Thanks, Rosie, for hosting! I look forward to some great gingery goodness in the round-up!