Spices and other exotic ingredients in hand, I started cooking up an Indian storm. Austin and I even decided to cook up an Indian Feast for Valentines Day instead of going out. A daal similar to the one we had for dinner tonight was the star of that meal. While it was good, I thought it could use a couple tweaks so I modified it before sharing it with you. The result rivals some of the tastiest daals I've eaten at restaurants and was a lot cheaper. Yes, it takes about an hour to cook, but most of that time you can spend doing something else, since the daal only needs to be tended to occasionally. It also contains ingredients that you probably don't have in your pantry but the all-knowing Google can probably lead you to a place where you can procure them. While you're at it, why not purchase some other exotic food to experiment with? Who knows, wonderful things could happen.
Red Lentil and Tomato Daal
Adapted from Cooking School Indian's Tarka Daal
Makes 4 servings
- 1 cup red lentils (actually they're more orange than red), rinsed until the water runs clear
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 2 jalapeños or Indian green chiles, minced
- 1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 28 oz / 794 g can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
2. While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and saute for about a minute. Toss in the onion and chile, cooking for another 5 minutes over medium low heat. Sprinkle in the turmeric and ground cumin and cook for another minute or so. Deglaze the pan by pouring in the tomatoes. Cook for another 5 minutes, then set the mixture aside.
3. Once the lentils are done, stir in the tomato mixture and the cilantro. Take the pot off the heat and let it rest covered for 5 minutes to let the flavors mingle. Serve hot over rice (about 1/3 cup, measured before cooking, per person), maybe with a side of naan.