Friday, May 4, 2012

Red Lentil Dal Recipe- Bengali Style

I love curry; I love ultra flavorful foods. What I like about using curry spices is that I can turn use these spices on so many different types of foods, from fruits and veggies to rice to legumes to eggs to chicken and fish.
Curry powder, unlike some people think, is actually not a spice, but a spice mixture. (Yes, there are curry leaves, which is another thing entirely, and isn't what people usually are referring to.) This recipe doesn't call for curry powder, but uses a combination of spices generally used in Indian cooking, which makes it be a curry as well. The official name for a dish like this though is dal, meaning legume puree.

I made this dish when trying to recreate a great meal I had at a local cheap Indian restaurant, and while not exactly like the restaurants (I think mine was tastier), its pretty darn good. I served this with my tomato chutney and white rice.

This is a pretty quick meal to prepare, though it does use a few dishes. Its very frugal, high in protein, vegan, and gluten free. All in all, a winner in my book.
I based this recipe off this one, adjusting it to taste, to make it easier, and to make it more frugal.

Red Lentil Dal Recipe

1 cup red lentils
3 cups water
3 medium tomatoes
1 tablespoon oil (I used palm or sunflower seed oil, feel free to use any)
1 large onion
2 medium cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon black or white sesame seeds (not nigella, a spice sometimes called black sesame but another thing entirely)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (can be foraged from wild fennel at the end of the summer)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 teaspoons salt
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Put the lentils and water in a pot together, bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 10 minutes.

2. While that is cooking, chop up 3 tomatoes into small pieces and set aside. You can peel the tomato first if you want but there is no need. 

3. Heat up oil in a frying pan. Mince an onion and saute. Mince your garlic and add to the onions once the onions are translucent.

4. When your kitchen starts smelling like fried garlic, add the sesame seeds, cumin powder, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaf, and turmeric to the pot. Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes.

5. When the tomatoes are soft and the lentils are soft, mix together and cook for 2 minutes more. Add salt and lemon juice to taste.

Serve over rice, with chutney, or with Indian flatbreads.

Have you ever made lentil dal? What was in yours? How do you serve yours?
Does this look like something you'd try out?

Linking up to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Allergy Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday

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