It’s amazing what a few fragrant ingredient and spices can do to a pot of lentils! Serve with plenty of naan bread and basmati rice for the perfect Indian meal.
Guys, we made it. This is the sixth Indian recipe in a row I’ve shared here on the blog.
If you’re like me, you’ve been loving these recipes and hopefully adding them into your upcoming meal plans.
However, if you’re not a fan of Indian food (howwww???), please accept my apologies for the recent bombardment of deliciously spiced dishes and know that we will soon return to regular (aka, varied) programming.
Okay, now about this recipe. Dal (sometimes spelled ‘dhal’ or ‘dahl’) is one of my very favorite Indian dishes because of how quickly it is made.
A red lentil dal cooks really fast, so this whole recipe is done in 30 minutes start-to-finish.
Red lentils look more orange than red after the cook, especially with the addition of turmeric. I use Bob’s Red Mill’s red lentils which are grown right here in the Pacific Northwest.
There are a few different ways that people make dal, but my favorite way to is temper the spices and aromatics in oil.
I used to make my red lentil dal by just chucking everything in the same pot, and while it’s still tasty that way, it doesn’t come close to flavor of the tempered version.
Basically, all you have to do is put some lentils and water in a pot, then fry the rest of the ingredients in oil while the lentils cook. The hot oil helps release all of the wonderful fragrance and flavor from the garlic, ginger, and spices.
The tempered oil and aromatics are then added to the lentils at the last minute (along with some lemon juice) so the flavor stays bright and fresh.
If you have any leftovers, save them in the freezer for an impromptu Indian lunch.
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Here’s Your Recipe!
It's amazing what a few fragrant ingredient and spices can do to a pot of lentils! Serve with plenty of naan bread and basmati rice for the perfect Indian meal.
10 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 green chili pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced (serrano for spicy, jalapeno for more mild)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- Juice of one half a lemon
- Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
- Place the rinsed lentils in a medium saucepan along with 3 cups of room temperature water. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon stick; cook for 60 to 90 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add the onion, green chili pepper, garlic, and ginger; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are turning translucent.
- Add the turmeric, cardamom, paprika, salt, and tomato to the pan. Cook until the tomato begins to fall apart, about 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.
- Stir the spiced onion mixture into the pot of lentils. Add the lemon juice and stir well. Taste and add salt as needed.
- Garnish with cilantro; serve with basmati rice and naan.
The wonderful people over at Bob’s Red Mill were kind enough to sponsor this recipe. I love supporting local companies!