Indian dals are a great source of protein. This is a basic recipe and it can be used for any kind of dal. You can also make a great soup by simply adding water.
1 cup whole red lentils (can use any kind)
4 cups water
½ tsp Salt + a pinch
½ Tsp ground turmeric
1 finely chopped large onion
1/4 cup grated ginger
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. Ghee or Olive oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 Lg. tomato, chopped
Rinse the lentils thoroughly under running water. Add lentils and water to a roomy and heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down, add the salt and turmeric and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. I cooked mine uncovered and kept an eye on it to make sure it does not overflow. At first, you’ll see a white harmless film form over the lentils. Just scrape it off and discard, and continue to boil until the lentils are soft. Once finished, turn the heat off and put a lid on the pan. Let the lentils sit while you make the onion-tomato mixture.
Now in a small skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the cumin seeds. Cook about 40 seconds until the seeds start to sizzle.
Add onion and a pinch of salt. Mix every few minutes and cook 2 – 3 minutes until the onion browns slightly. The salt draws out moisture and helps the onion brown.
Add ginger, garlic. Cook for another few minutes. Add the coriander, cayenne, mix well and cook another 20 second or so. Always be cautious adding powdered spices, as they can easily burn at this stage. Add tomato; cook until the tomato is soft.
Take this mixture and carefully add to the cooked lentils. Mix well and serve over rice, with tortillas or as a soup.
Yield: Serves 4
Note: When I bring a bag of lentils home, I always check it to make sure it is clean and remove any debris or small rocks. Indian grocers are notorious for having ‘dirty’ legumes. When cleaning your lentils always consider the source. Thankfully most grocery stores carry them now and seem to have cleaner lentils. It’s always good to be on the safe side, so check them first.
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