Saturday, October 23, 2010


Some therapeutic cooking today, another adventure in Indian cooking--I made red lentil dal. Dal is a thick vegetable stew that is especially common in Southern India. It is often a vegetarian dish, a good source of protein. I have added and subtracted from several dal recipes to come up with this version. The coconut milk works well, adding a slightly sweet body to the cooking liquid. Serve as a main course over Basmati rice or as a side dish with grilled meat. This is very curry-esque but not overly spicy so you can add more curry or jalapeno to taste.

Red Lentil Dal

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 ½ teaspoons curry powder (I used Penzey’s Maharajah curry powder)
1 teaspoon dried jalapeno pepper (I used Penzey’s)
2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 ½ cups dried red lentils (10 oz)
1 13 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup diced unpeeled potatoes
1 cut diced carrots
½ cup frozen chopped spinach
Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Cooked Basmati rice (optional)

Cook onion in oil in a heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden, about 6 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, one minute more. Add curry powder and jalapeno and cook 1 minute.

Stir in broth, lentils, coconut milk, potatoes, and carrots and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Add additional broth (or water) if mixture is too thick. (It should be the consistency of cooked oatmeal.) Add frozen spinach and simmer 5 minutes more or until spinach, potatoes, and carrots are tender. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with cilantro if desired.

Makes 6-8 main course servings.

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