More than 60 different types of dal (or dhal) are made across India. The basic dish contains lentils or other legumes flavored with aromatics and spices. Here, yellow lentils (toor dal) and mango are cooked in a more traditionally Southern India style—more souplike. Both ripe and underripe mango will work: less-ripe mango imparts a tart flavor and holds its shape, while riper mango breaks down more during cooking and gives the dish a sweeter taste. Serve over basmati rice or with roasted chicken.
- Place lentils in a colander and rinse until the water runs clear. Combine lentils, 4 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and turmeric in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until fragrant and starting to brown, about 30 seconds. Add onion; cook, stirring, until soft and beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, coriander, cayenne and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.
- Stir the garlic mixture and mangoes into the lentils. Return to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes more. Stir in cilantro.