Lentils are a big source of protein in vegetarian Indian diets. Here’s a simple way to incorporate lentils into your repertoire.
3/4 cup toor dhal (AKA split pigeon peas) – Check out the link for a picture.
2 medium onions, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp canola or other vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 to 5 green chillies, slit lengthwise (depending on taste)
Pinch of hing (asafoetida)
Salt to taste
Fresh cilantro, chopped (to taste)
1. Cook lentils with 1/4 tsp of turmeric. Toor dhal takes a long time to cook so the quickest method is pressure cooking. You should also cook the dhal with extra water, which will be useful in making the dhal the correct consistency later on. Mash the dhal and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to get fragrant, add the remaining turmeric, red chilli powder, green chillies and hing. Saute for a minute, and then add the onions. Saute until onions become translucent. Add the tomatoes and saute until tomatoes begin to break up. If the mixture gets dry, you can add a few tablespoons of water.
3. Add the cooked dhal to the saucepan. Add water, if needed, to make the dhal somewhat creamy in consistency, like a thick, blended soup. Add salt to taste. Cook on low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
4. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. Serve over rice or with the Indian bread of your choosing (roti, naan, paratha, etc). You can also serve it as a soup if desired. Can be kept refrigerated for several days.
Note: This is a basic recipe. Feel free to experiment with different types of lentils and different levels of spice. You can also add vegetables to make this more hearty and heart healthy.