Red lentils dhal

There is nothing more comforting in winter than an a earthy stew. Indeed, the body calls for hot and nutritious food when the weather is cold. The recipe I am sharing today is inpired by Indian cuisine. It is easy to make, tasty and can be prepared in large batches to be frozen. It can be enjoyed alone as a starter, or with trimmings such as by basmati rice and vegetables to make a delicious and balanced main course.

The word dahl comes from Sanskrit term “to separate”. In Nepal and India, it designates several pulses in general and by analogy, legume-based dishes. The secret of the dahl lies in the masala, a mixture of herbs, spices and herbs. Traditionally in India, spices are not used only for their flavour, they are also eaten for their healing properties: turmeric and ginger have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Cayenne pepper stimulates digestion, black pepper is a febrifuge and anti-depressant… For an optimal result both from taste and nutritional view –  I recommend you use freshly grind spices.

Although this recipe can be made with any type of lentils, I chose coral lentils because in addition to bringing a nice color to your plate, they do not require soaking and cook in 15-20 minutes. It is therefore a food that I recommend to have in stock at home: it is versatile and you can use it to make a variety of healthy and delicious dishes: salad, hummus, cream soup

Lentils are nutritionally interesting because they contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which decrease the growth of human cancer cells. They are rich in fiber and thus stimulate the intestinal transit while being satiating. They are a good source of iron, phosphorus and vitamin B9. The latter plays a vital role in the production of genetic material, in the functioning of the nervous and immune systems, as well as in the process of healing. Finally, they are an interesting source of protein for vegetarians, who can eat them together with cereals to ensure a balanced intake of essential amino acids.

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Serves 4-6

  • 250 g (1 cup) red lentils, rinced and drained
  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 200 ml (3/4 cup) water
  • 1 oignon, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 piece ginger (1 in), grated
  • 2-3 tbsp cconut oil
  • 1 tbsp turmeric, ground
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 pinch Cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lime juice
  • fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions

  1. Pour chopped tomatoes into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then let simmer uncovered over medium-low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in another heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add crushed garlic and grated ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until smell of raw garlic is gone.
  3. Add ground spices (turmeric, garam massala, Cyenne ang black pepper) and fry in oil together with garlic and ginger mixture, stirring constantly, until they exhale their aroma. Be careful not to burnthe spices!
  4. Add chopped onion and salt, stir well.. If necessary, add a little water so that the preparation does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Turn the heat to medium and let the mixture cook until mixture forms a paste. Stir frequently and add a little water if the preparation sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add red lentils, water and cooked tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer over medium heat for 25 minutes.
  7. Add coconut milk and cook another 15 minutes.
  8. Before serving, add lime juice out of the heat and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Bon appétit!

Eleonora