Spread the dal on a cookie sheet and pick out any stones or clumps of dirt. Place in a large bowl and wash under cold, running water until the water runs clear, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onions with salt and pepper until golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the dal and chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Dal keeps well for 2 to 3 days. Reheat before serving.
*Dal is the Indian name for the inside of any whole, dried bean. Urid dal, black bean dal, and orange dal are 3 varieties available in Indian or Middle Eastern markets. Lentils may be substituted.
Copyright (c) 2006, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger