After reading Shoba Narayan's plan for a Hindu Thanksgiving, try out these recipes:
Stir together cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and yogurt. Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook mustard seeds, cumin, and urad dal, stirring, until mustard seeds begin to pop. Pour oil mixture over vegetables and stir until combined. Stir in cilantro and salt to taste.
Wash dal in several changes of water until water runs clear and drain well in a sieve. Cook dal at a bare simmer in 11/2 cups water in a 3-quart saucepan until most of water is evaporated and dal has consistency of a paste, 40 to 45 minutes, stirring frequently during last 15 minutes to prevent scorching.
Heat oil in a 6-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook mustard seeds and red chile, stirring, until seeds begin to pop. Add 11/2 cups water and remaining ingredients (but not dal paste). Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add dal paste and remaining cup water, stirring to incorporate. Bring rasam to a boil, stirring occasionally, and season with salt.