As you are well-aware, I love Indian food. A good dal is a great recipe to have in your arsenal because it is inexpensive, delicious, and packed full of nutrition. Unfortunately, I have not had a lot of luck with many of the dal recipes I’ve tried. Either they didn’t cook down right, or else they were bland. So when I saw this recipe for “Dal Nirvana” on Budget Bytes, I was intrigued by all the rave reviews. Last week I decided to make it for lunch (even though it was scheduled for Friday’s dinner — I simply couldn’t wait that long). I made a few tweaks so the recipe better suited my tastes, and wow! Just… wow. It was absolutely delicious. I think the best part of this recipe is that it tastes great with regular lentils that you buy at any supermarket — there’s no reason to make a trip to the Indian grocery store (unless you want to, obviously!)
Creamy Indian-Spiced Lentils (Dal)
1 c. dry lentils
1 can (15 oz.) crushed or diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 inch fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. garam masala
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 c. half-and-half
Pour the lentils in a medium sauce pan and cover with 1-2 inches of water. (Make sure you have checked your lentils for tiny stones first!) Bring the pot to a boil over high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Drain the lentils and set aside.
Add the butter and oil to the sauce pan and melt over med-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for a minute. Then add the chili powder, cumin, and coriander, salt, and pepper and fry until spices are fragrant (just about another minute or so). Return the lentils to the pot and then add the can of tomatoes along with a can full of water (or just a little bit less).
Stir everything well and then add the tomatoes. Fill the empty can with water and add that to the pot, as well. Stir everything again, bring the mixture to a simmer and the reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for a half an hour. If the lentils are not softened or the mixture is not thick enough, continue to simmer until it reaches your desired consistency. The dish should be thick, but not dry.
Finally, stir in the half-and-half. Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro if desired and serve with rice and yogurt.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this recipe! If you’re searching for a meatless dish to try tomorrow (Good Friday), this one is definitely a winner!
Be sure to visit Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom to check out other delicious recipes!