My mum would be scandalised by this daal, but given that I can't pull off a 'proper' daal with only the Bengali radhuni seasoning, I cook this spiced-up, curried version of the beloved Bengali staple mushur (masoor) daal. I was brought up to believe it was full of proteins, and must be had by all naughty children who refused their daily portions of freshwater fish :-)
Split de-husked red lentils (in the US, pick up the Goya version at any supermarket).
Tomatoes, sliced thick.
Red onions, sliced.
Turmeric powder, a pinch.
Ghee (or butter. Or, oh all right, refined oil).
Boil the lentils. Keep boiling till they're pretty mushy. At this point they shouldn't be much water left. If there is, drain it off carefully. Now take a whisker or beater to the mushy daal, and make it mushier still, till it reaches the consistance of a thickish, slightly watery paste. If you're impatient you needn't go that far, but make sure there are no individual hard grains of daal discernable.
In a wok/skillet, heat two tablespoons of ghee. Or butter or oil. After a few seconds drop a slice of onion to see if it sizzles. If it does, turn the flame down and add all the onions. Fry till they change colour and release the sweet, toasted-onion smell.
Now add tomatoes. Turn the flame up and cook them well, disintergrating them with a spatula. The final daal should have no chunks of tomato in it.
When the tomatoes have been well-cooked into an dry onion-and-tomatoe stew, add the lentils and mix them thoroughly with the vegetables. Add a small pinch of turmeric, and then salt and sugar. Taste to see if it needs more of either.
Pour a cup of water and let the flavours cook with each other. It's a good idea to cover the wok/skillet at this stage and lower the flame.
Eat with hot white rice, or, if you have them, freshly made rotis. Mmm!