In India, Pakistan, and other countries of the Indian subcontinent, lentils and other dried legumes are an integral part of the everyday diet. Simply speaking, a dahl (also spelled dal, daal or daahl depending on the specific region) is a soup or stew made from legumes such as lentils and is typically made with ghee (clarified butter) and seasoned with turmeric, ginger, and other spices. It is enjoyed with roti (flatbread), fragrant basmati rice, and vegetables.
This recipe uses ingredients found in my cupboard and seasoned not to be as pungent as the original. Margarine and toasted sesame oil replace the ghee. It also uses beef broth, which a true dahl would never contain. I like to serve this with my cauliflower flat bread †.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tbsp <butter>
- 2 cups dried red lentils, picked over
- 1 quart water
- 3 tsp lo-salt beef bouillon powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp mild red chile powder
- 1 tsp ground cayenne chile
- 1 (14½-oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp <salt>, or to taste
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
In a 3-quart stockpot or other medium-sized soup pot, heat the <butter> over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.
Stirring constantly, add the, lentils, spices, tomatoes, and <salt>. Bring to a low boil, then turn down the heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are very tender and the soup is at the desired temperature.
The water content above may be adjusted to make this dish either a soup or an accompaniment. I do not serve this with rice for diabetic reasons.