Dal (Indian Lentils)

Who here eats enough fiber?

only Sarah’s in-laws raise their hands

That’s what I thought. Well, if you want some fiber and something rich and spicy, eat this. I used this recipe as a guideline and for the cooking method, which turned out to be stellar. Below are my actual steps.

1 1/2 c dry lentils (I used brown, the posted link suggests black caviar lentils)
2 T butter, divided
1 T vegetable oil
1/4 t hing or asafoetida powder
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely diced or cut into matchsticks
2 hot green chilies, chopped (optional – remove seeds for less heat)
1 t curry powder
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t ground fenugreek
1/2 t ground fennel
1/2 smoked paprika (hot or sweet, whatever you like)
1/2 t ground turmeric
1/2 t salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 small can tomato sauce (6 oz. or 200 g)
1 c vegetable broth

In a deep pot, cover lentils with water by 2 inches, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. While lentils are cooking, heat 1 T butter in a small skillet to medium and cook gently until milk solids start to brown and smell nutty. Add oil to skillet, add hing and fry, stirring for one minute. Add onion to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Now add garlic, ginger and chilies and cook until fragrant and tender. If skillet looks dry, add a bit more oil and add curry powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, fennel, smoked paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper to onion mixture and stir until well distributed and very fragrant. Cook for one more minute, then remove from heat and set aside.

Drain lentils and return to pot. Add cooked onion mixture, tomato sauce, vegetable broth and 1 T butter. Bring lentils to a simmer and cook over low heat until thick and creamy, adding broth as needed. To improve texture, mash lentils occasionally with the back of a spatula while cooking. If desired, stir in a tablespoon or two of cream after cooking. Serve with naan or rice, accompanied by plain yogurt and chopped cilantro.

4 thoughts on “Dal (Indian Lentils)”

  1. cliff1976

    Hint: if you like ginger, don’t dice it. Cut it into matchsticks. That way you get a burst of it now and then instead of a more even distribution of ginger the way you would with diced or grated ginger. Go with the matchsticks.

  2. CN Heidelberg

    I love the word asafoetida.
    I’m about to try a new lentil recipe myself – with panchphoron – I love lentils!

  3. cliff1976

    CN: as well you should. Wikipedia showed me what other peoples think of it.

  4. Harvey Morrell

    Sounds yummy. Have to give this version a try. I usually use coconut milk in mine.

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