This is the first Indian dish I ever made. If you read my saag entry, you saw that I was muchly enamored with the Indian market I visited while searching for panch phoron, a blend of spices used in a few regions of India. Unfortunately, the blog I'd gotten that spice from initially didn't know how to spell it, and while I suspected that what I saw there was the stuff I was looking for, I didn't want to buy a large quantity of spices only to find that they were not "the" spices since I wasn't sure what I'd do with them if they weren't. So, in my uncertainty, I hemmed and hawed and picked up this:
It's great stuff. It was a different blend but includes a lot of good flavors that raise lentils to a heavenly
The first day I made this, I declared that I could eat it everyday from then on. Tom looked slightly terrified at my zeal. I made a second batch and ate it for a solid five days and never once got tired of it. I will say it is better with red lentils than with brown just because I love the soft comforting mush.
Lentils are an ideal food. Fiber, protein, amino acids. Add to that tomatoes, onions and jalapenos, and you have some serious health food that feels like a true indulgence. But do remember that little ditty the elementary school boys sing: "beans, beans, they're good for your heart...." Increasing your fiber content bit by bit helps considerably to decrease gastrointestinal difficulty, and those around you will be most grateful.
Recipe is based on this one found at Kalyn's Kitchen, a blog I love and read often.
- 1.5 c lentils (red are best, but I made the dish in the photo with standard brown)
- 3 c water
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 5 jalapenos because we like it hot, feel free to use fewer or omit, sliced
- 2 T oil, divided
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 T ginger paste or grated ginger
- 2 T tadak dal spice or panch phoron or your choice of Indian spice blend
- 3 crushed garlic cloves
- Toss lentils, water, jalapenos, turmeric and salt into pot. Bring to a boil, reduced to simmer, cover and let cook 30-60 minutes, depending on your lentils.
- Saute onions in 1 T oil until they get all golden and mushy. Add in tomatoes and ginger and cook for 8 minutes more until everything dissolves into a delightful flavor paste.
- Add onion/tomato/ginger mix into lentils. I've done this at various stages of the lentil cooking, and all stages (mid-late-after) of lentil cooking are fine.
- Heat remaining 1 T of oil in skillet on low. Add spice mix and stir, listening for the pops of the seeds. When seeds have popped, remove from oil and add in garlic. Let sit for 30 seconds and toss into lentil pot with everything else.
- Adjust salt and serve with naan, roti, rice or just a spoon.