When I made naan recently, I told you all that I ate it with some green lentil dal. That probably didn’t mean much to some of you. If I were reading this about a month ago I would be just as lost as you most likely are. Here’s just a little background I learned through some major internet researching (Google, anyone?). “Dal” can actually mean a split lentil, pea, or bean. You might be thinking that I’m talking in circles because now all you know is that I made green lentil…split lentils. So helpful for you all. You’re welcome!
To be fair, “dal” can also mean a stew-like dish prepared with, well, dal. So turns out I’m not completely losing it! This means that in the simplest terms, this dish is a green lentil stew. Often served with rice and bread (hence, the naan), this dish is oh-so-much-more than just a stew. It’s full of flavor and spices that will make your mouth wonder why it has never tasted something so delicious before. Want. more. now!
*Side note: I’m not a pro at Indian cuisine, or any cuisine for that matter. This is seriously delicious stuff but don’t look at me for the traditional recipe that your great aunt twice removed from India used to make. I probably don’t have it here.
This is a vegetarian dish, which is cool. I’m not vegetarian and my husband is most definitely not a vegetarian. Every so often I try some tasty vegetarian dishes but if Travis had it his way we would probably be eating steak and chicken every day. Mostly steak. BUT, I must say that it’s big news that Travis actually told me this dish is a keeper and not a bit of meat was to be found. Must mean it’s pretty darn good without it. Just saying.
If you love this recipe, check out my Spinach Dal! YUM YUM!
**Update: After some feedback about this recipe, I made the 2 cups of water optional. If you add the water, you end up with more of a soup than a stew. Without the water, you end up with something like the pictures show. Both delicious!
- 2 cups dried green lentils
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid (14.5 ounce can)
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups water, optional
- small jalapeño, finely chopped
- cilantro, to garnish
- Place lentils in a colander or sieve and rinse with cold water. Let drain.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add cinnamon, onion, ginger, and garlic. Saute approximately 5 minutes, or until onions start to become translucent.
- Add in lentils, chili powder, turmeric, cumin, salt, and tomatoes. Stir and bring to simmer. Simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and reduce heat. If you would like to end up with more of a soup than a stew, add up to 2 cups of water along with the vegetable stock (optional). Cover and simmer for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender but not mushy.
- Garnish with jalapeño and cilantro.
- Serve with rice and naan.
- While you are rinsing your lentils, just sift through them to make sure there are no bad ones or even little rocks/pebbles. I've never had it happen, but better safe than sorry!