Friday, February 25, 2011

Indian Dal

Argh, foiled by dinner again.

I don't know why, but when it hits me that I still have to think of dinner, it's like a brand new revelation EVERY DAY! Crazy...I'm just a bit crazy.

Today's another vegan day and I think I'll make rice and dal (lentils). My kids love the dal and it's pretty easy to make. I NEVER knew lentils could taste this good! I got the recipe from which is a great resource for vegan food recipes.

Indian Dal

I usually double or triple this recipe for our family and to have some leftovers which are good. If we're having company I may make 2 pots, one regular (spicy) and a large pot mild for the kids.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 small hot pepper, minced (I usually don’t unless I make a non-spicy pan for the kids too)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I love coconut oil for this)
1 cup small red lentils (I have 25lbs of green and I like them fine)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (not me)
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
I also add chopped spinach, beet greens, kale, or grated zucchini ½ way through.


1. Place onion, garlic, and hot pepper in a pot, cover with oil (be generous with the oil, they should swim in it). Let all of it simmer, about 5 minutes.

2. Rinse lentils, add to pot, stir, then add spices, stir, add water to cover lentils. Cook at medium to medium high. Leave uncovered, don't walk away for too long.

3. You will have to keep checking because the water cooks down and you will have to add more to make the dal the consistency you like. Stir often because it helps the lentils cook down well.

4. After 30 minutes or so of cooking you can add fresh or frozen greens. This is not a must but it's a great way (for me) to get those frozen greens into our diet. You don't really taste them.

5. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Be aware that you don't want too much cardamom and ginger, they take control of flavors, cumin and coriander are more mild.

Serve with spinach, naan, and rice.

Serves: 3-4 maybe, Preparation time: 1 hour tops

Tips: For our family of 9 I always double this recipe. I also pre-make snack bags full of the spices that I need so I can dump them in and not measure out each time. If I'm making a pot and I'm out of spices, I'll make the dinner and the packets at the same time... This way I know that this frugal recipe is half way made for me and it will be even faster for dinner.

Rice is cooking, I'll post on family's favorite rice another day. Now off to chop onions and make a meal.

dal is not looks like mush but your taste buds will want to marry it


Hillary said...

whenever you run out of green lentils, try red. The texture is great for that kind of dal. Well, I like it.

AKmamaOf6 said...

Hill, I did try it once and really didn't notice much difference. I think maybe they were more silky, but to me the cost of these lentils compared to the red wins. If you find a good source of cheap red lentils let me know.

When I was using them I realized they're more brown than green. Are they still called green?

Hillary said...

Not sure about the brown/green. I just buy the red in bulk when they're on sale at Fred's or wherever. Sometimes it's a screaming deal. I find the brown to be more coarse and "healthy" (haha) tasting. Red is more mush and almost paste-y. Amal mentioned to me that he used to eat them on toast for breakfast.