Let’s do something simple today – not like a lot of my recipes aren’t simple already, but something that’s not only simple but also relatively fast to throw together as well and great for the crowd. What’s fabulous about this dahl is that it is practically rendered a healthy fast food because of the red lentils – they don’t require that long to cook before they’re done, and cooked past that just tender stage, they turn to mush and absorb a lot of the liquid. Which makes cooked red lentils a great substitute for mashed potatoes, but without hardly so much the effort, and I would say just as filling.
Dahl is Indian, although this particular dahl is mild – making it suitable for those who aren’t familiar with Indian food or don’t like it to be that spicy. I can’t say when exactly (I’m still planning) but soon I’ll be doing a couple of some sort of themed recipes and this one would fit the bill perfectly for a Roald Dahl-themed party.
The recipe for the dahl is from a detox cookbook, though don’t let that deter you or freak you out – it’s not designed for detoxing. It’s just a recipe designed to fit the dietary perimeters of a detox diet. Anyway, detox or no, the cookbook is filled with lots of great, simple recipes, with ingredients that I usually have on hand. And if you know me, I love those recipes where I can just grab something from the cupboard, or fridge or freezer, and go. On the spot cooking. If there’s an ingredient I don’t have, I just substitute it with the closest next thing I have on hand.
Red Lentil Dahl
Adapted from Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox Cookbook for Cleansing
The original amount was meant to serve four, though I doubled the recipe. You can cut it in half, to its original amount, or triple it and so on as needed. This amount does make more than six servings – depending on appetites, who wants seconds, as well as if you’re just having the dahl on its own or serving it with rice, for example. However, I (as well as the rest of my family) have been liking quinoa lately and the dahl goes excellently with that as well.
The dahl will also thicken overnight when it’s in the fridge, so when you reheat the next day feel free to add more liquid to make it soupy again or leave it as is. Because it gets to be so thick, it would also be great with some bread or toast in the morning for breakfast.
Glug of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 cup diced carrot (about 1 or 2 carrots, depending on size and length)
1 cup sliced celery (optional, about 2 to 4 stalks, depending on length)
4 tsp. curry powder [you can also make your own]
2 tsp. ground cumin or coriander
4 cups boiling water or vegetable stock
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
Sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, and carrot and celery, if using, in the olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized pot, until the onion is translucent. Add the spices, browning and stirring so as not to scorch the spices.
Pour in the water or stock and rinsed lentils. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer, covering, until the lentils are cooked, about 5 to 10 minutes. Cook longer and the red lentils will break apart and the dahl will thicken to a consistency like porridge. If it gets too thick, just thin it with a little water until it’s a soupy consistency again to your liking. Serve as you like it: on its own, over freshly cooked rice or quinoa. Enjoy!