*Cumin seeds as opposed to cumin powder bring special flavor to this dish. As an option, Bada masala is a Nepali 5-spice mixture that can be purchased at South Asian or Indian grocery stores (like Everest International Grocery Store on Columbia Avenue for locals). It can also be made with equal parts cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella and fennel seeds. The use of Bada masala is typical in the Nepali preparation of this dish, while the use of cumin seeds is commonly used in India.
**I like a long grain, white Basmati rice, as it is lightly aromatic and complements the dal nicely, but your favorite brown or white rice may be used.
Tip: If the dal (lentils) becomes too thick, thin with additional water. They are meant to be a soupy consistency and then served over rice.