A tangy, delicious Tomatillo dal which is as different as it is easy to make. A South Indian dal made with a Mexican fresh produce.
Tomatillos are a new taste that I love since moving to the United States. My first taste was like most people at a Mexican restaurant having it Salsa Verde. It was so different from what I have ever tasted. Kind of like tomatoes but more sour, with a delightful kick and beautiful flavor. I have been stuck on them ever since and it’s been 10+ years that I have lived here.
What is a Tomatillo?
They are fruits actually. Not green tomatoes (unripe tomatoes) though they certainly look like them. And, that’s no surprise as they are of the same nightshade family as the tomatoes. Called, “tomato verde” or “husked tomato” in Mexico, they are a staple in their cuisine. They can be eaten raw, fire roasted or blanched.
They grow abundantly in Mexico and Guatemala and to some extent in the United States. The weather in California makes it perfect for them to grow here, as they are somewhat cold resistant and grow in warm full sunny areas.
How to purchase or select and store Tomatillo?
Choose small thinly husked tomatillos. The husks should be light brown and not be shriveled. The tomatillos should be firm and smoothly green. Do not remove the husks if you are not using them immediately. The husks protect the tomatillos and keep them fresh longer.
They are good anti-oxidants and have a bit more protein and fat than tomatoes. Low in calories and tangy in taste, they make your taste-buds sing. Lip-smacking is the word to use here.
Tomatillo Dal Recipe
This recipe is very simple to make.
- Grate the tomatillo and garlic in, after cooking the dal.
- If you are using any other type of salts like Kosher or table salt instead of Himalayan pink salt, measure it out accordingly as they very different.
- I like green chilies in this dal. The ones on the picture are those grown in my garden and close to the taste of Thai green chilies which are more spicier (almost 100,000 in Scoville scale). That’s the reason I have used only one. But, adjust the spice level according to your taste.
What can you pair with Tomatillo Dal?
- Rice, roti or parathas make an excellent canvas to enjoy this dal. Try my Green Beans Stir Fry as an accompaniment to complete the meal.
- Use it as a sauce for any protein like oven-roasted Tofu for an easy appetizer.
- If you are non-vegetarian, it goes excellently with poached chicken and any lean fish like Branzino.
- A fabulous dipping sauce. Make a platter of assorted flatbreads like Naan, Injera, Pita or Gözleme.
- 300 grams Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas) approx: 1.5 Cups
- 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
- 3 Cups Water liquid measure
- 300 grams Tomatillio approx: 10-13
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 2 Thai green chili
- 8 grams Himalayan Pink Salt approx: 1/2 Tablespoon
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 2 tsp Sesame seed oil or Vegetable oil
Add Toor dal, turmeric and water to a medium sized heavy bottomed vessel like a crockpot and cook on medium flame, stirring often till the dal cooks and becomes mushy.
Pressure cook the dal, turmeric and water for 3 whistles and wait for natural pressure release.
In the pot, add the Toor Dal, turmeric and 3 Cups of water. Close the lid with the vent in sealing position. Set to manual or pressure cook mode and cook at high for 5 minutes. When you hear the beep, release pressure naturally for 5 minutes, and then manual pressure release for another five. Now open the lid and switch to sauté mode for the next step.
In a small bowl, grate the tomatillo and garlic together. Finely chop the Thai peppers.
Add the tomatillo with garlic, green chili, and salt to the dal. Let it cook for 5 minutes till the mixture thickens and becomes cohesive (you can do this on medium size pan over stove top or switching to saute mode in the Instant Pot). Taste and adjust for salt according to your taste. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Add a couple of spoonfuls of oil to a small pot or pan and heat over medium heat until the oil is hot. Add mustard seeds. The pan will sizzle and the mustard seeds will sputter and pop. Turn off the flame and pour over the top of the dal. Serve.