Making food that is not native to my culture intimidates me. I get scared that I am going to offend an entire ethnic group with my attempts at recreating one of their prized dishes–but luckily that is not the case. If I think about it, all of the meals that I prepare have originated from somewhere; they have a history. For instance the hamburger pie I would eat as a child is really Shepherd’s Pie, which is a staple menu item in Ireland.
I never knew that adding a few different ingredients to my go-to lentil recipe would become more Indian or South Asian. Dal, a thick stew made from lentils, was the first recipe where I experimented with Indian cuisine and flavors.
I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of this dish as well as the taste. I couldn’t stop eating it! Now that I have learned to make this, I feel comfortable experimenting with other flavors and adding other vegetables to this dish! I hope you enjoy my adaptation of this traditional Indian meal.
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups red lentils
- 1 large yellow onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4-5 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 serrano chilis
- 1 teaspoon curry
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh turmeric, grated (this will stain!)
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup plain greek yogurt
- Rinse your lentils and allow to dry while you do the following steps.
- Chop onions and tomatoes--set aside.
- Thinly slice the garlic (long ways to maintain flavor)--set aside.
- In a dutch oven, or a heavy pan with a lid, heat 2 Tbsp. Olive oil (not extra virgin) over Med heat.
- Add onions. Cook for 5 minutes, or until it become translucent.
- Mix in the minced garlic, two serrano chillis, curry powder, turmeric, ginger, cumin, salt, pepper, and garam masala. Mix for one minute.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and the lentils. Stir.
- After 1 minute, pour in the stock.
- Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
- Place the lid on top. Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes, or until you are satisfied with the thickness.
- Serve over Basmati Rice (or for those who can eat gluten, serve Naan) and top with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.