I am watching so many Indian movies these days, that now when I see an American show it sounds strange to my ears. I have become a big fan of the classic style Bollywood film, but also have seen many of the newer films like Dangal, Neerja, and Pink, which have little to no dancing but a very strong story, especially about woman power. Having always enjoyed Indian food, these movies are only making my cravings more immediate. Dal is a staple in the Indian diet whether you are a vegetarian or a meat-eater. If you have never eaten dal before – or even if you have – this recipe will make you a believer. It is a wonderful side dish or can become more of a main course served with rice and other vegetarian dishes.
Red Lentils with Ginger from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey
Yield: 4-5 servings
3 large cloves of garlic, crushed in a garlic press
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger (Make your life easier and buy this already prepared in a jar.)
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 Tablespoons EVOO or Canola oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup finely diced tomatoes (I actually used canned this time and it was wonderful)
1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained (skinless masoor dal – these are split red lentils and are readily available in Indian markets and online)
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (optional, but I used it)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Mix together the garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, cayenne and turmeric.
- Pour the oil into a wide pan (I used a 10-inch pan with 3-inch sides and a lid) and set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, put in the onions and fry until the edges begin to turn golden.
- Add the spice mixture and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan. If you are using canned tomatoes, cook for about 2 minutes. If using fresh tomatoes, cook until the tomatoes have softened.
- Add the red lentils and 3.75 cups of water and the salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover the pan partially and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 45 minutes, add the butter, if using and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.