Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Red Lentil Dal with Charred Onions

I've had some red lentils in the pantry for forever, so I decided it was time to use them up. We made this red lentil dal, a pretty standard Indian dish. It tastes like pretty much everything I've ever eaten at an Indian restaurant - which is a good thing. I like the combination of garam masala and garlic and whatever else is in the food. We had it over rice with some garlic naan from Trader Joe's and it was very good. We agreed it could possibly be a make-again, but it's not likely since it's so basic.

Instead of using all the spices and then grinding them, I just used my bottle of garam masala, a spice mixture made of all of the ones called for in the recipe. I recommend that completely because it saves a lot of time and effort. But make sure to add in the red pepper (we used crushed red pepper) because that isn't in the garam masala!


Red Lentil Dal with Charred Onions
From Cooking Light, October 2007

Quick-cooking red lentils don't need to be pureed since they break down as they cook. Lentils are a great source of protein, as well as fiber. This recipe gives 20 percent of your daily fiber goal. Serve over brown rice with a side of broccoli for a vegetarian meal.

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 whole clove
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 dried hot red chile
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
1 cup dried small red lentils
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; cook 2 minutes or until charred. Carefully turn over onion, and cook an additional 4 minutes or until blackened and charred. Remove from heat. Coarsely chop; set aside.

Combine mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and clove in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook 1 1/2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Combine mustard mixture, cinnamon, cardamom, and chile in spice or coffee grinder. Pulse until ground.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a small Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in spices; sauté 1 minute. Add broth, lentils, and tomato to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover; add onion, and cook 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and juice.

Yield: 7 servings

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