One of the perks of being a "temp" nanny is getting to meet and interact with different families all the time. I love the variety that comes with meeting new people and experiencing different home environments and cultures. One of the families I work for occasionally is from India. Their home always smells so good and I can always count on finding some kind of Indian dish sizzling on the stove when I arrive. I love a good international dish and when I tried one of theirs on a recent visit I was totally blown away. Their teenage daughter wrote down the name of the dish for me and it was all I could think about in the several weeks since. Dal is a very authentic Indian comfort food that can be made a hundred different ways. When I went in search of a recipe I was frustrated to find that no two recipes were alike and all seemed to offer varying degrees of spice, consistency and sweetness. So after gathering the core ingredients, I set out to come up with my own unique recipe. And as luck would have it, it turned out pretty damn good. So here it is for your own enjoyment. (Seriously. Make it now. You won't regret it.)
2 1/2 cups of red split lentils (green or white work too)
5 cups of water
1 can of coconut milk
2 tablespoons Ghee butter (or any groundnut oil or vegetable oil)
2 medium/large yellow onions, finely chopped
2 tablespons fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons Dal Spice Mix (found at most Mideastern markets or global grocery stores)
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Make It Happen:
Add onions and oil/butter to pan and saute on medium for about 5 minutes until the onions soften and brown slightly. Turn heat to low. Rinse lentils under cool water until the water runs clear and then add to your soup pot. Add 5 cups of water. Returning to your pan, add your chopped garlic, ginger and spice mix to the pan and stir in with onions.
Let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until it becomes fragrant. Once it is done, add mixture, chopped tomatoes, can of coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of sugar to pot of lentils and turn on medium heat. Let the pot boil for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soup thickens to desired consistency. I prefer mine to be on the thicker side, served over basmatic rice or with a warm piece of cheese naan bread.
I made a huge pot of this and I think it will be an awesome meal to enjoy all week long as the temperatures drop. I hope you'll love it too!
*If spicy isn't your thing, or if you'd like to try this with kiddos, I suspect that if you use half the amount of spice mix it should help considerably.