Creamy red lentil dal
Daal is a well know Indian dish, bengali to be exact. It comes in 1001 variations, this one is a red lentil dal. I didn't have any garam massala on hand so I made my own and put the recipe down below.
It's creamy, thick and absolutely delicious on a warm bowl of rice. Even better if topped with a mountain of fresh cilantro and a cooling raita.
Chili is optional but I woudn't recommend leaving it out, it's not a piping hot dish, it just helps balance everything together. Put just one chili if you're scared it'll be too spicy.
Creamy red lentil dal (serves 4-6) :
- 350 g red lentils
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2-3 cm fresh ginger
- 40 cl coconut milk
- 2 small tomatoes (or 1/2 can crushed tomatoes)
- 2 dried (or fresh) birds eyes' chilis
- Fresh cilantro
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable oil
For the garam massala :
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 clove
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
To make the garam massala, toast the cumin, coriander seeds, cardamom and clove in a pan with no fat for about 5 minutes.
Transfer the spices in a mortar and ground it all into a powder.
Mix it with the rest of the spices. Your garam massala is ready.
For the daal, mince the onion, grate the garlic and ginger.
Cube the tomatoes.
In a pot, heat 1 or 2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Add the onions, garlic and ginger. Fry everything for a minute or two.
Add the lentils, spices (cumin and turmeric) and garam massala. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and 65 cl of water. Let it simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add coconut milk, season with salt and pepper.
Let the daal thicken for a few minutes until it gets creamy.
Sprinkle with fresh cilantro on your plate, serve with rice or rotis.