long distance dal

In keeping with my frazzled grad student ethos, I forgot to take a picture of my dal (all seven versions that I’ve made thus far). These pretty yellow buds will have to do. Reminiscent of turmeric, maybe?

Tragedy strikes!!!


I’d known for some time that KT would spend spring away as part of his work rotations — but I hadn’t expected to be quite so sad on the day of his departure. I woke up that morning and tried to cry as discreetly as possible. KT then asked if I’d be able to drive him to the airport through my tears. He reminded me that it’d be a little more than a week until I’d get to spend my entire spring break him. Yeah, okay, I get it, maybe I was being a bit melodramatic…

In any case, being apart from my partner has made me reflect a bit on some of my favorite parts of our relationship. To no one’s surprise, that includes food. Dating KT has opened me up to the big and beautiful world of Indian cooking. I’ve tried my hand at quite a few recipes for dal — a fragrant, lentil-based curry, served best ladled over basmati rice. This was, by far, our favorite variant. KT declared it my best version yet, at which point I immediately shared it with my fellow Instant-Pot-loving friends in California. Now, I share it here, in the hopes that we can all make it and feel a little closer.

Long distance dal (masoor dal)

Nigella Lawson’s recipe available at the New York Times

My Instant Pot modifications were:
  • Saute aromatics in the Instant Pot (onion, garlic, ginger) and throw everything else in once everything’s nice and brown.
  • Add lots of spice, including 1 tbsp garam masala.
  • Replace 4 cups of water with 1 cup of broth and 1/2 can of coconut milk.
  • Cook on high pressure, 12 minutes (however, my IP isn’t sealing right now so I ended up cooking for over 30 min —  12 min is what another commenter suggested).
  • Garnish with lime and plenty of cilantro!

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