So I know what you’re thinking, Lentils? Me? Yes, friend you too can cook with lentils and enjoy their savory taste to boot. Dal Baht is the national food of Nepal. In the early 2000s I had the distinct pleasure to travel to Kathmandu. There I learned of eastern religion, yoga and this succulent dish. Traditionally there are a lot more spices than this but, owing to the fact that I am in Spain, I will give you the expurgated version.
UPDATE: I’ve had a number of people make the quick version since I’ve been back in the states so I flipped the positions. Now the full version of the recipe is first (from my lovely aunt Kate) and the quick version is below if you are in another country and cannot get the ingredients.
1 and 1/2 cups dry red lentils
3 jalapeno chilies chopped
1/2 tsp. turmeric
4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 TBSP olive oil
1 cup minced onion
3 TBSP grated ginger
1 cup chopped tomato
2 tsp. minced garlic
4 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried red chilies flakes
1/3 TBSP cumin seeds
1/3 TBSP fennel seeds
1/3 TBSP black mustard seeds
OK, so here is how this scrumptious meal happens. The first thing you want to do is to get a big pot and put in the lentils, water, jalapeños, turmeric and salt. This will be the base of operations for your entire lentil escapade. Simmer that on medium heat for about 25 minutes.
During that time why not make some rice? If you are serving 4 people make about 2 cups of rice. If you don’t know how to make rice, you’re pretty bad off. Use the Internet to find out how. I can’t do everything for you. I’m a busy man.
In a fry pan, place about 4 TBSP olive oil, your onion, ginger, garlic and tomatoes. Sauté for about 10 minutes being careful to enjoy yourself immensely. Once the onions start to become as see-through as a frat guy’s motives, pour the entire contents of the fry pan into the pot with the lentils bubbling away like a witch’s cauldron.
Stir it around for about 2 minutes all the while chanting “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble!” Believe me, this makes it taste better. Drop in the bay leaves and dried red chili flakes.
The final bit is to “pop” the seeds. In a dry fry pan with no oil or anything in it heat up the fennel, mustard, and cumin seeds. The seeds will start to pop a bit and at that point you know they are toasted. Add these to your potion and Viola, you’re there.
At this point you’re done. You’ve just got to go find Macbeth and call him to dinner. Make sure he washes his hands for they may be bloody. “Out Damn Spot!” Put down a bed of rice on your plates and ladle out a healthy portion of the mixture onto your alabaster carbohydrate carpet.
P.S. for the person on the go or someone in a different country here is the quick version with fewer spices and shorter cook time.
Don’t tell anyone else this is down here.
Simmer for 15 minutes:
400gr canned precooked lentils (about 2 cups)
4 1/2 cup water
2 green peppers (chopped)
1 tsp of Cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
In fry pan saute:
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 tomatoes (chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
1 Tbsp ginger (chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
2 tsp of Cumin
ground black pepper
Add that to the the Dal and serve with Basmati or jasmine rice.
Labels: dinner, main, vegetarian