Red lentil dal and rice bowls are a lovely way to feature this tiny legume. Dal is a naturally vegan traditional Indian recipe that’s usually made with red lentils, and can be varied with split peas. Dal, a cross between a stew and a hot dip made of well-cooked legumes, is meant to be scooped up with freshly made Indian breads, such as chapatis, but it’s also a lovely way to create bowls.
Red lentils are available in natural food stores and well-stocked supermarkets, come in bulk or in packages, they can also be sourced online. I highly recommend considering them a pantry staple. Quick-cooking (about 15 to 20 minutes) red lentils have an appealing orange-gold color and a delectably mushy texture, which makes them a great base for soups and stews in addition to this classic recipe.
1 cup red lentils
2 teaspoons grated fresh or squeeze-bottle ginger
2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder or garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped broccoli or green beans, optional
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
About 6 cups hot cooked rice (try jasmine or Basmati)
Garnishes (use any or all)
2 limes, quartered
1/2 cup chopped red or yellow onion, or as desired
Cilantro or parsley
Rinse the lentils and combine them with 3 cups of water in a large saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then stir in the ginger, curry powder, and cumin. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently until the lentils are mushy, about 15 minutes. The consistency should be that of a thick stew. Add a small amount of water if need be, but let it stay nice and thick.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
If using the optional green vegetable, add it to the onion mixture in the skillet with a little water. Cover and steam until tender.
Once the lentils are done, stir the onion mixture into them and season with salt and pepper.
Distribute hot cooked rice between shallow bowls, and garnish with lime wedges, chopped onion, and/or cilantro. Serve at once.
Recipe by Nava Atlas, courtesy of The Vegan Atlas.