1 ½ cups red dal (masoor dal)
½ small onion, sliced
1 tsp. turmeric
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
Wash and rinse dal. Add water to cover about an inch above the dal. Boil. As soon as it comes to a boil (watch it as it might overflow), lower the flame. Remove as much froth as you can. Now add the sliced onion, turmeric and salt. At this point you may put the lid on and cook on a medium flame. Slowly cook for maybe a half hour, stirring occasionally until some of the water dries. If you see water bubbling, it is not ready. Most of the water should dry and the dal will have been cooked.
The next step is called tarka. This is prepared in a small skillet – pour about 2 teasp. oil in skillet until very hot. Add about two cloves chopped garlic, a pinch of asafetida, 2 teasp. ground cumin and cook for a minute or two.
Lift the pan toward the dall pan and add some of the cooked dal to the hot pan with the garlic and cumin. It will sizzle. Add this mixture to the dal pan. Cook for another minute or so until flavors are blended. You may use a hand blender to just blend because the cumin and garlic mixture tend to lump.