I love Indian food, and lucky me, I got to spend a month in the south of India partaking of some of the best Indian meals any person has ever enjoyed.
This recipe for red lentil dal is highly westernized but no less flavourful and nourishing than the more exotic originals. What it is though, is faster to make using ingredients that are readily available in North America and Europe. Don’t let the long list of ingredients deter you – it’s mostly spices you likely already have in your cupboard.
2 cups red lentils
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 large onion diced
2 Tbsp curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
1 heaping Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3-4 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sambal oelek (chili paste)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
397 ml can tomato paste (13.5 oz)
1 cup chopped spinach (optional)
2 tomatoes diced
Cook the lentils. You need 4 cups of liquid. I use a mix of vegetable broth and water. You can use just water or all vegetable broth. Bring the lentils and liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer covered. The lentils will only take about 15 minutes to cook. There may be a tiny amount of liquid in the pot and that’s okay. Set aside.
In a large pot, melt the coconut oil. Add the diced onion and cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are golden.
Add all the spices and seasonings: curry paste, curry powder, cumin, tumeric, chili powder, sambal oelek, garlic, sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger and heat through combining with the onion. Add the chopped tomato and combine. Add the tomato paste and spinach and combine. Last, add in the cooked lentils and mix everything together.
Serve with basmati rice, samosas and chapati bread. Mmmmm.