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Red Lentil Dal

A fresh hot Indian stew that works anytime of the year.

Never really pushed myself to cook Indian food until a year ago. Something about it always intimidated me. I made some incredible chef friends working in restaurants who helped push me out of my comfort zone. Now, I’m pushing you to try this delicious Indian spiced stew that taste’s just like a spiced chili, it’s so hearty. This one-pot dish adds a couple of new staple spices to the pantry including garam masala, a cinnamon-y/cumin spice blend, and that deep yellow powder called turmeric. This stew revolves around color, spice flavor, and consistency, so it’s important to use red lentils because they break down as they cook, like split peas. Unlike green lentils.

Lentil chili has been a well-known staple for a lot of vegans and vegetarians. A great meat replacement with plenty of protein and fiber. You can find red lentils at most grocery stores with other dried beans and rice. As for all dried grains and legumes, you need to rinse the lentils ridding any chance of pebbles or dirt. This dal is made in one pot, so it’s very easy to remember the process. Sauté your veggies, toast your spices and simmer the lentils. You’ve cooked this recipe before, you just used different ingredients for your pot roast or your Bolognese sauce. Cooking be like that sometimes.

Don’t be afraid of the spices. I know there are a couple of new spices here that may seem intimidating, but embrace the process. The flavors will take you there. Like all great recipes, it fundamentally works with any veggies you have in your fridge. From the broth to the tomato, the only ingredient you really need are the lentils. The rest you can just improvise. I know this won’t be the last time you make this recipe, next stop Tikka Masala!

Serves 4

10m prep time

20m cook time

Rated 4 out of 5
Rated by 1 reviewers

Allergens: Citrus

  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 14 oz crushed tomato can
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, loosely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into rings
  • Warm naan for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  1. In a large pan over medium high heat, add olive oil, diced onion and peppers. Cook until onions are translucent and add zucchini, ginger, garlic and jalapeno pepper.
  2. Once garlic and ginger are browned, add rinsed red lentils, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala and coriander. Combine and toast spices for 1 - 2 minutes.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes and vegetable stock and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook for 15 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
  4. Turn off the heat, mix in cilantro and lemon. Taste for seasoning.
  5. Top with sliced jalapenos, extra cilantro and slices of warm naan.
  6. Badhai ho!

Recipe adapted from NYT Cooking and Rainbow Plant Life.

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