Masala Lentils | Dinner

If you want to impress someone with a dal, make it this one. Don’t be afraid of the number of spices—it is quite simple to make. The spices and garlic are blended to a paste and fried in the oil. A hot sauce (chiles, garlic, and vinegar) in the tadka is another secret to getting the right flavour profile. Serve this as a part of a meal, or with rice or naan or other flatbread.


3/4 cup brown lentils, washed and drained 2 cups of water 2 to 3 teaspoons safflower or other neutral oil 1/2 cup finely chopped red or white onion 6 cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 2 teaspoons ground coriander 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves or 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds 1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste 2 tablespoons water 1 1/2 cups chopped tomato 3/4 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish 1 tablespoon vegan butter (optional)


1. Combine the lentils with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Partially cover and cook over medium heat until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. 2. While the lentils are cooking, make the tempering. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. 3. In a blender, combine the garlic, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, fenugreek, paprika, nutmeg, black pepper, sriracha, and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend to combine well. Add this paste to the onions in the skillet. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, and cook until the tomatoes are tender about 8 minutes. Mash the larger tomato pieces. 4. Add the tempering to the lentils. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Garnish with cilantro and vegan butter, if using, and serve hot.

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