Red Lentil Dal
Why we love it:
- 2 cups Red Lentils
- 8 cups Water
- 1 Yellow Onion (finely diced)
- 2 Jalapeños (optional, minced)
- 6 cloves Garlic (minced)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger (minced)
- 1 teaspoon Vegetable Oil (or coconut oil is great)
- 11⁄2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (more to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Mustard Seed (whole - or 1/2 as much ground dried mustard)
- 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 2 Roma Tomatos (chopped - or 2 Tablespoons tomato paste)
- 3 Carrots
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (divided, optional)
- 1 pound Sugar Snap Peas
- 1⁄4 cup Plain Yogurt
Combine the lentils and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, give it a stir, then turn the heat down to simmer. Skim off any foam that collects on top with a large spoon. Cook, partially covered, until the lentils are mostly tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop! Finely chop the onion and jalapeño. Mince the garlic and ginger finely. In a large skillet, heat the oil then add all of these vegetables and a pinch of salt.
Cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
To this pan add the spices: garam masala, mustard seed, coriander, cumin, and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir and cook for about a minute, then add the tomatoes (or tomato paste). Simmer for about 3-5 minutes.
You’re going to scrape the spice and onion mixture into the pot with the boiling lentils BUT you have to get the correct amount of water. If the lentils are tender by now and they are still underwater, drain enough off the top so that the lentils are higher than the water. If they are not yet tender, leave a thin layer of water on top (so drain less). If they’re tender and above the water line already, do nothing.
*Basically, you don’t want it to be too soupy, the consistency should be thick enough that it’s mostly lentils and some broth.
** That said the dal at my favorite Indian restaurant has very brothy dal and it’s wonderful. So, don’t listen to me!
When you have a moment, scrub the carrots. Then roll cut them - slice off the end on an angle, then roll the carrot until the newly cut face is pointed up, then slice through that on an angle. Roll so that newly cut face is up, and slice again. Always cut through the plane created by your last cut. (Confused? Forget it then just slice 1-inch pieces!).
Heat a sauté pan with ½ of the butter and add the carrots and a pinch of salt.
Trim the peas if they need it. After carrots have sautéed for about 4 minutes, add the peas. Cook for about 2-4 minutes or until they’re done and bright green.
Give your dal a final taste and add salt if needed. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter if desired. Plate dal and veggies on a plate or bowl if soupy-ier. Dollop with yogurt if you like.