Friday, April 11, 2008

Red Lentil Dal

1 c. red lentils
3 c. water
1 t. ground tumeric
1 1/2 cumin seeds
1 t. coriander seeds
1/4 t. ground cardamom
1/8 t. each ground cinnamon, cloves, cayenne
1 T. vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 T. lemon juice
Vegetable stock
1/2 c. cilantro, coarsely chopped

The Cooking
Sort the lentils and pick out any foreign matter. Rinse well under cool water.
Put lentils in the water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Skim off the foam. Add the tumeric.

Cover loosely, reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 to 60 minutes until the lentils are tender; they will separate into a soupy layer on top and thick layer underneath.

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over low to medium heat and roast hte cumin and coriander seeds for several minutes, stirring the pan often to keep them from burning. Grind the seeds in a mortar. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and cayenne, and grind again.

Set the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and onion and saute until translucent. Sprinkly lightly with salt, cover tightly, reduce the heat to low, and cook for several minutes, until the onion is tender.

Add the spice mixture and black pepper an cook briefly. Stir in the cooked lentils. Turn the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook until the mixture is hot and flavors are blended. Thin with several tablespoons of stock. Add lemon juice and salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro just before serving.

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