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Author Notes: Dal and basmati rice is a perfect way to get that carbo-load satisfaction, and at the same time, consume a substantial amount of complete protein. All you need to balance out this meal is a dish of sauteed greens.
In a nutshell, the red lentils are simmered in water over 1-2 hours, breaking down into a coarse mush. Oil is spiced and added to the lentils after they have cooked, for a mild flavor and denser texture.
Make this recipe when you’ll be home a few hours, so it can simmer. Total prep and active cooking time will be less than 15 minutes. —fuhsi
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 3 cups water
- 2-3 inches fresh ginger, sliced and diced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon asafoetida
- 1/4 cup olive or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 4 peppercorns
- 3 dried chili peppers
- Put the lentils, water, ginger, turmeric, and asafoetida in a deep saucepan on low-medium. At the beginning, depending on the lentils you buy, some foam may form, which can be skimmed off. Stir occasionally to make sure the water hasn’t boiled off; also, the lentils will sink and stick to the bottom as they break down, and the stirring prevents this tendency. If you find the lentils have not broken down and the water has evaporated off, add water. If you find it too soupy, turn up the heat slightly to evaporate the extra liquid and keep the lid askew as the ingredients boil down, stirring more often.
- Spiced oil is added at the end of the lentil cooking: heat a small saucepan, add the oil, and bring it to heat the oil well. Add the mustard and cumin seeds, the salt, and peppercorns, and stir, letting them heat until you hear the mustard seeds pop, and then add the chili peppers, turning each over after about a minute, so the skin darkens on each side. Carefully pour this mixture into the dal, as the oil might splatter. Stir together and the dal is done. If you like your food spicier, cook the spices in oil longer, and leave the chili peppers in the dal: after a couple of trial runs, you’ll know how to adjust this step. Lastly, depending upon your preference for flavors, stir in 1-2 T lemon juice, at end.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dirt Cheap Dinner