Saturday, September 15, 2007

Don't It Make Your Red Lentils Yellow

They're red now, but these lentils turn a distinguished dal yellow by the end of this recipe thanks to our friendly Indian spice, turmeric. Well, that and cooking a long time.

Lentils are a wonderful source of protein and fiber. They're also very tasty and easy to cook. You'll find them in quite a few vegetarian Indian dishes, especially vegan ones like the one below.

The original recipe is a bit different in that it uses more (and different) spices, but I promise you that this version is delicious as well. I've taken Meena Pathak's recipe for "Whole Green 'Tempered' Lentil Dal" and reworked it a bit so that I could use the red lentils I bought recently (because they're just so pretty!). I'm sure that if you used her original recipe just as written (and bought the great cookbook), she'd be pleased.

Instead, here's my geeky, non-Indian girl version.


1 cup whole red lentils, soaked in filtered water for 1 hour
2 1/2 cups of filtered water
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon minced ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 red onion finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro


1. Drain the lentils gently.
2. Pour the water in a deep pan and add the lentils, turmeric, cayenne, ginger and salt. Bring to a boil.

3. Lower the heat a bit and simmer for 40 minutes, adding extra water when the lentils need it (I wound up adding about 1 1/2 cups more along the way, a 1/4 cup at a time).
4. Stir in the chopped tomato and continue to cook.

5. In a small frying pan, heat the oil and add the cumin. Cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and onion, and saute until the onions begin to brown at the edges.

6. Add the onion mixture to the lentils and sprinkle with garam masala. Continue cooking for 5 more minutes.

7. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve immediately with hot, fluffy naan.

So tasty!

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