red dal, brown rice, and a green veggie

dalThanks to Nick for making this while I stress over a fellowship application.  Really, do I have time to post given these circumstances?  I’ll make this brief.  This dal, or Indian lentil dish, is one of my favorite things to make.  We always have the ingredients around our house as staples, and it’s less expensive and lighter than versions that call for coconut milk.  It is incredibly fragrant and flavorful, especially if you have fresh spices.  You can substitute yellow split peas or split mung beans (no skins) for the lentils if that’s what you have.

makes 4 servings

From Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian:

-1 cp dried red lentils, washed and picked over
-2 tb minced peeled fresh ginger
-1 tb minced garlic
-4 cardamom pods
-1 tb mustard seeds
-2 cloves
-1 tsp cracked black pepper
-1 ancho, dried, or other mild dried chile (optional)
-2 tb butter or peanut oil, optional (since it’s added at the end, it gives a real richness to it, but I don’t usually add it unless I’m making it for guests)
-chopped cilantro garnish

1. Combine lentils, ginger, garlic, cardamom, mustard seeds, cloves, pepper, and chile in a saucepan and add water to cover by an inch.  Cook at a steady simmer until the lentils are pretty soft, 20-30 minutes, salting as the lentils soften.

2. Remove the cloves and cardamom pods (no big deal if you leave the pods in there – but they are strong if you bite into them).  If you are using butter or oil, stir it in.  Taste for salt and other seasoning, and serve, garnished with cilantro.

We are having this with plain brown rice (under the dal or next to it, whatever you like), and mustard greens sauteed with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.

This makes me want to go back to India . . .

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