Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday Recipe: Red Lentil Dal

Love me some Indian cuisine! Especially love when it's inexpensive...like this recipe from friend, Chef Dilip. The first time meeting him was at the restaurant in Fortune Hotel in Calcutta / Kolkata, India, when he oversaw the five course menu for our small team of educators, ministers and businessmen. His Thai Kimchi was amazing, beautifully plated and had a heat intensity set at 5! Wow!

Snowed and iced-in with a bag of dry red lentils (only .70 cents at Walmart), I turned Chef Dilip on Facebook to see if he would mind providing a recipe for dal. Dal (meaning split) is a word for the ingredient and the final dish which is like a soup. Lentils are legumes like split peas and beans - high in nutrition!

Dilip fired back with what he deemed the most simple way to make dal! I only had to make a minor adjustment with my ingredients resulting in a dish that warmed my soul and tummy!

Red Lentil Dal

1 lb. pkg  Dry Red Lentils (on the beans and rice aisle at your grocer)
1 teaspoon Turmeric (soooo good for your body)
1 tablespoon Mustard Oil (I purchased mine at an Indian grocer, but have since seen at the grocery store)
1-2 Onions, chopped or diced
1-2 Garlic cloves, chopped/minced
1 Dried, Whole Red Chili Pepper
S&P, to taste
Garnish with diced tomatoes and cilantro (in India, it's called coriander)
Basmati Rice, cooked

  • First, boil the lentils in water, which cook in a matter of 7-10 minutes. I prefer a more solid lentil --almost al dente-- to start with because there will be additional cooking time where the lentils begin to cook down into more of a pulp.
  • Add turmeric and mustard oil.
  • I jumped the gun and sautéd my onions, first, but you can simply dice and add to the lentils with the chopped garlic.
  • Here's where I had to make an adjustment. I didn't have a dried, whole red chili pepper ...nor crushed or paste, but I did have a small can of Green Chilies. I diced and added to the mixture.
  • Also, I did not have fresh cilantro to garnish, so I added a couple of teaspoons of ground coriander with the turmeric. Don't tell Dilip, but I added a little bit of Garam Masala, because I love it!
  • Serve over a helping of cooked, fragrant Basmati Rice and enjoy! Naan is a yummy flatbread, much like pita, you can dip into the broth!

Note: If you prefer a thinner or thicker dal, make the boiling water adjustment!

Play with your food!

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