The philosopher Diogenes was eating bread and lentils for supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king. Said Aristippus, ‘If you would learn to be subservient to the king, you would not have to live on lentils.’
Said Diogenes, ‘Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king.’
~ Anthony de Mello
Today is April 1st, and – no joke – we are having our fourth snow day in less than a week. Two double snow days in less than 7 days. Even my kids are tired of missing school.
My cupboards are a bit bare, as I’d been planning on shopping Sunday but the roads were too bad to head to town.
Red lentils to the rescue.
They are cheap, nutritious (an excellent source of protein, iron and fiber and folate) and fast-cooking compared to other lentils and beans.
Dahl is a popular dish around the world, and there are many variations on it. This is mine.
Serve with rice and steamed veggies.
- I cup red lentils
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil or butter
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric this gives it a nice color
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper I usually double this for a bit of extra warmth
- 4 cups water
Heat medium saucepan over medium heat and add oil or butter.
Add onions. Cook a few minutes until soft. Keep temperature low enough that onions do not brown. Add minced garlic and cook 1-2 minutes longer.
Add all spices and cook for 1 minute.
Add lentils and coat with the spice mixture.
Add the water and bring to a simmmer.
Turn heat to low and cover. Simmer for 40-45 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent sticking.
Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes longer. Let sit five minutes, then serve with rice.
I like to add my own combination of spices, but if you prefer, you can use a prepared curry powder for making dahl. Each blend is different, but 1-1/2 tablespoons should probably be enough. You will need to adjust according to your taste.
Photo of red lentils by omdur