I love daal. It’s a combination of puréed beans and spice that is filling and warming all at the same time. I loved it even before I started liking beans, when I still thought beans were beige and bland and part-crunchy part-squishy and all around pretty dull. I love daal because it is like Indian mashed potatoes, a staple that went well with anything else you chose to serve.
The first time I made daal it was a mind-blowing taste experience. It turned out the texture of creamed corn, and was layered with levels of spice that lingered but vanished before it burned. I would eat bowls of it for a meal, convincing myself that the amount of tomatoes and lentils in the dish somehow balanced to a full and well-rounded dinner.
I have never made daal that successfully again. In fact, I think my skills are getting worse, and they actually may have scampered off altogether.
For example, tonight. I let my beans soak for almost two days. I roasted eggplant and chopped up red onions and garlic. I measured everything out. I cooked as instructed. And it is currently a watery mess of charred veggies and dry beans, simmering on my stove as it has been for hours.
I’m not entirely sure what I did wrong, but I think I may have to start over my process, beginning again with the basic recipe and follow it religiously, step-by-step.
Tonight’s dinner was leftover baked beans and mashed “potatoes”. I am still satisfied.