This sweet and sour apple dal is a simple, tasty recipe and sure to be a hit in your family for adults and kids alike. This recipe is inspired by the dosakkaya pappu (sour cucumber dal) andhra recipe. It is one of my favorite dishes and I am always amazed at how that recipe could be so simple and yet so tasty. This apple dal is similar, just 7-8 ingredients, a few steps and voila’, a lovely, tasty dish ready!!
Granny Smith apples are one of those apples that look really great and crisp in the store. You buy them and then wonder how you are going to finish them. They are great for pies. But I am not a fan of pies. Next best bet, find an Indian equivalent recipe – Apple Dal!!
Daals (cooked lentils) typically have a souring agent to them – in North Indian dishes it is mostly tomatoes, in South it is tamarind. Other souring agents often include amchur powder (dried mango powder), kokum (dried plums), dosakayya (sour cucumbers) or even lemon juice. In this case, we have used sour apples.
For our lentils, we have used split mung beans also called as moong dal. Split moong dal is one of the fastest cooking lentils. It is smooth, creamy and easily digestible.
This is such a simple recipe. But, however simple a recipe, they can often confusing and frustrating. For e.g., I used to hate looking at recipes and then trying to recollect if they saute’ed the onions or not? Did they add ginger, garlic, or coriander powder? I would often be frustrated with trying to memorize the steps without understanding the reasoning behind the process.
Finally, after a few years of trying to bring a method to the madness, I started understanding the building blocks for a recipe. I will talk more about these blocks in this recipe and upcoming ones. Attached below are a few pics of the process and the thinking behind the process. I am hopeful that this approach will help fellow cooks who think like me.
- Pressure Cook onions and apples with dal
Cooking onion with the lentils makes for a good stock. When cooked with the dal, it adds to a subtle layer of sweetness in the dal. Now, if you stir fry the onions, it is a different taste. But, we want a simple sweet and sour dal, so just cook onions with the dal.
The apples when cooked, turn soft and melt into the dal. Also note, the sourness in the apples does not interfere with the cooking of the dal since it is split moong dal, which is one of the easiest (fastest) cooking dal.
- Give a tadka (seasoning) of garlic and chilis and coriander leaves (optional)
Red chilis and garlic are one of the simplest tadkas (seasoning) you can give to a dal. Frying garlic and chilis in oil is a step that will take your recipe to the next level compared to just adding all the ingredients to the cooker and cooking them.
According to seriouseats.com, “There are two very good reasons for frying ground spices in oil, one chemical and the other physical. First, heating up the spices in oil releases fat-soluble flavor compounds contained within [..]. Second, adding spices to cooking oil will distribute their flavor far more efficiently in the finished dish than either adding them to the liquid component or stirring them in at the end.”
- What about x,y, z ingredients?…
Why didn’t I add coriander powder, or garam masala, etc. etc.? For a simple recipe like this I only want to ensure the presence of a few flavors:
- Salt – yes
- Acid – Granny Smith Apples
- Heat – Red Chilis, garlic (partly)
- Fat – Coconut oil
- Sweet – onions + apples
This Vegan Sweet and Sour Granny Smith Apple Dal is a simple and tasty recipe that is comforting with creamy lentils, spicy from chili and garlic, and has a sweet + sourness coming from the apples.
- 1 cup dry split mung beans (moong dal)
- 1 Granny Smith apple chopped
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- Salt (to taste)
- 2 tbsp Coconut Oil
- 4 cloves Chopped garlic
- 1-1.5 tsp Kashmiri Chili Flakes
- 2-3 tbsp Coriander leaves chopped (optional)
Pressure cook the dal with onions, apples, turmeric powder, 2 cups of water and half the salt in a pressure cooker for about 2 whistles. If you are using an instant pot, about 5 minutes of pressure is enough.
Once the pressure releases, open the cooker and mash the dal with the back of the ladle and mix well.
In a small pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil and add chopped garlic, red chili flakes and coriander leaves. Let them sizzle for about 20-30 seconds.
Add the chili garlic seasoning to the hot dal, mix well and adjust for salt. Serve!!
I used Kashmiri Chilli pepper, because it is mild in spice. Kashmiri peppers range from 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville heat units (SHU), which places it just higher than paprika 250-1000 SHU.
I hope you enjoyed this simple vegan sweet and sour Granny Smith Apple Dal recipe. Do try it and post your thoughts and comments below. I look forward to reading them.
Thank you for talking about the principles behind the ingredients and the technique. I find that approach super helpful. Tonight I experimented with making a cranberry/apple chutney (I live in Minnesota and both are bountiful right now). It was delicious. It was the first time I had thought to incorporate apples into the Indian-style food I make, so this recipe is especially well timed! Love your blog, thanks.
That’s wonderful to hear!! I hope to write more about the principles of Indian cooking in upcoming posts and happy to hear your positive feedback.
Btw, Cranberry/apple chutney sounds delish!!
Hi Swetha, What a lovely idea! I’m always at a loss as to what to put in my dal, and now I have a lovely addition to my repertoire! Not to mention how simple it is to make!
Thank you Adithi!!
I love this recipe! Using the whole bean, I followed the first step by cooking in the Instant Pot. I’m new to Indian cuisine but catching up on it quick because I love the taste as well as the nutritional value. Thank you!
Thank you Alison!! So glad to hear that. I hope you find more recipes in this website that will introduce to Indian cooking and give some background with the recipe as well. I wish you success!!
I have never though of using apples in dal. Will try it.
I have become a “whats in the fridge” or what needs to be used up type of cook. I love it when i have an almost empty fridge and have creatively used everything. No longer bothered about having exact ingredients either nor what was the traditional way. As long as it has some semblance to What my grandma made and still have everyone eat it all up is all that matters. I find my kids (young adults) are easy to please, its the seniors (75 and up) who are fusspots now!
And Yassss!! I love the empty fridge feeling. My husband never quite gets it, always wanting to stock up.
With regards to recipe: Anything semi-sweet works great with dal, apples are great. So are half ripe mangoes. Hope you like it when you try it out.