Daily Vegan Lunch for 31 January, 2013: Red Lentil Dal (Indian-style Lentil Stew)

Red Lentil Dal


1 cup red lentils
2 cups water (have 2 more cups of water at the ready to add)
1 veggie broth cube
1 cup broccoli florets
2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, stabbed with a fork and microwaved for 3-4 minutes
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup green onion or 1/2 cup white onion
Oil for frying

Chili peppers or cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced


Put lentils in a large, deep pot with water on high heat. Wait for them to come to a boil, then immediate turn heat to medium. Lentils will absorb water as they cook. Add water as they change color from orangey-red to khaki-ish yellow and soften, we are cooking them down to porridge. You can also make this recipe the same way with split peas, they just take longer and require more water. Keep adding water but don’t add so much that you end up with soup, again, we are going for “oatmeal”. Add the broth cube, carrots, and turmeric to the cooking lentils.

Meanwhile, cook the potato and chop the rest of the vegetables. You might also put some rice in the cooker or on the stove, it is shown here with basmati rice. Fry the onion in a small, separate pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds to the frying onions if using and chili pepper, which will make your end result hot & spicy. I don’t add it because my husband can’t take the heat. Add cumin, garam masala, coriander to the onion pan, they will become fragrant.

Now comes the moment of truth. Dump everything into the large pot of lentils, including the contents of the onion-spice pan, the microwaved, chopped potato, and the chopped broccoli, red pepper, and garlic. The aim is not to cook the vegetables very much, just to barely heat them through. Stir, add black pepper to taste or salt if necessary, and serve over hot rice or with pita bread halves.

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