When spiced to perfection, a mellow, saucy dhal is seen in Ayurveda as one of the most body-balancing, nurturing, and sustaining foods of all. It is highly digestible, gentle on the body, and can be eaten by young children and elderly people alike. In India, dhal is traditionally eaten with rice and chapatis as a light, energizing meal. Try making this delightful dhal for those you love.
- 2½ cups dried red lentils, sifted and rinsed well
- 7 cups water
- One 15-ounce can diced tomato (or 2 cups fresh)
- 1½ Tbsp minced ginger
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp oil or ghee
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp minced fresh chili or red chili flakes
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2¼ tsp salt or to taste
- ½ cup minced cilantro or mint leaves plus extra for garnishing
- ½ Tbsp minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
- Place the lentils, water, tomato, ginger, and turmeric in a 4-quart pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- When the lentils have broken down and the soup is quite smooth, heat the oil or ghee in a small skillet over high heat. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and sauté for a few seconds. When the cumin darkens, add the chili and coriander and stir for a few seconds. Remove from the heat and add immediately to the soup along with the salt.
- Add the cilantro or mint and garlic and stir through. Ladle into bowls, garnish with extra cilantro or mint, and serve.
Veggie variation: Include 1 to 2 cups chopped yam from the very beginning. Or, after the lentils have cooked for about 20 minutes, add 2 cups chopped vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, or spinach. Increase the water and salt if necessary.
Coconut variation: Add 1 cup coconut milk a few minutes before serving and increase the salt slightly if necessary.