Dal is a thick stew generally made with beans or legumes…today we made a quick vegan dal with red lentils, with the recipe provided by ye olde internet. As the recipe on about.com explains, Dal is usually made with ghee (a type of clarified butter) but this version replaces that with sesame oil for a vegan-friendly yet complex flavor.
From the website, with added advice in bold:
- 1 T. sesame oil or, alternatively, olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped white onion
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 T. finely chopped fresh ginger
- 4 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and picked over
- 1 t. cumin
- 1 t. coriander
- 1 t. tumeric
- ¼ t. cardamom
- ¼ t. cinnamon
- ¼ t. cayenne pepper
- 1 t. salt, or to taste
- 2 T. tomato paste
1. In a 3-quart stockpot or other medium-sized soup pot, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.
Turn on your stove fans at this point, trust us. Also, this is the kind of recipe when you scrape up all the little bits from the bottom of the pan- delicious!
2. Stirring constantly, add the water or broth, lentils, spices and salt. Bring to a low boil, then turn down the heat to low, cover and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are very tender.
For the next 20 minutes, put on Air (optional) and pour yourself a Scotch. Breathe in and enjoy…just don’t get so into it that you forget about the cookery…
3. Stir in the tomato paste until well combined. Cook several minutes more, or until the soup is desired temperature and consistency, adding more water to the dahl if needed. Serve hot.
At this point, we microwaved some grocery-store frozen naan (yeah, don’t hate) because it’s pretty good and a lifesaver when you’re feeling lazy. For added pizazz (or to counterbalance the lameness of the frozen naan), we sprinkled whole cumin seeds atop the dal…and it was good.
Now, observe the results! Delicious, easy, and bearing all the credentials of a homemade meal even if we cheated a bit with the naan. You can make it more or less homemade by how much effort you put into your spices (toasting at home versus using pre-ground.) Miss Curry doesn’t judge.
PS- for a list of vegan friendly alcoholic beverages, including the almighty Scotch, try Barnivore.com as a resource. Cheers!