Yellow Lentil Dal with Fragrant Basmati Rice
More than tandoori chicken or spicy vindaloos, dal defines Indian cooking, often constituting the main daily source of protein, especially for vegetarians. A generic Hindi word for dried legumes--peas, lentils, beans--dal has come to signify a whole universe of dishes simmered with spices and served with chapati bread in the north and rice in the south. Yellow lentils contain protein, the B vitamin folate and soluble fiber, which is good for the heart. Spices play a healthy role, too: In traditional ayurvedic medicine, cumin is valued for its ability to aid digestion, turmeric is prized for its anti-inflammatory and blood-purifying properties, and mustard seeds are believed to heal the bronchial system.