Preparation / Directions:
'Daal' refers to a variety of lentils, peas and beans that are used to make soups and stews also known as 'daal'. This recipe calls for 'toor daal', split yellow pigeon peas, but you can substitute mung beans or red lentils. Vaghar, the method used here to sauté spices in oil is a basic Gujarati cooking technique used in making most dishes.
Cover daal with water and soak 30 minutes. If using a pressure cooker, reduce soaking time to 10 minutes. Discard soaking water in a large saucepan or pressure cooker. Cook 50 minutes by conventional method or 15 minutes in a pressure cooker. If using red lentils, cook 30 minutes by conventional method or 10 minutes in pressure cooker. For a soup-like consistency, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more water if needed. Puree daal with a hand-held electric blender or in a food processor.
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and asafetida. Cook until cumin seeds turn golden brown, about 1 minute. Add to the daal and bring to a boil.
Stir in chiles, salt, sugar, turmeric and tomatoes. Lower heat and simmer uncovered 5 minutes. Remove daal from heat. Stir in cilantro and yogurt or lemon juice and serve immedi