Red Lentils and Rice

For much of the Indian population, lentils (Dhal) represent an important source of protein and are eaten daily. All dhals are legumes, and according to Jennifer Brennan, the Hindi word dhal derives from the Sanskrit word dal, which means to divide or split. Therefore, in Indian cooking the same legume may have two different names (and uses) depending on whether it is whole or split.

At least 5 different dhals are commonly used in Indian cooking, including Toor dhal (pigeon pea), Urad dhal (black gram), Masoor dhal (red lentils used in this recipe), Moong dhal (green gram, the whole bean is referred to as Sabut moong), and Channa dhal (yellow split pea).  In addition to those 5, there are still a few more, which are less commonly used.  In Indian cooking, dhal may be used in stews, ground into flour, fermented, or sprouted.

Of all the dhals, the Masoor dhal is the fastest cooking, because of its thin seed coat and flat shape. This type of dhal is also thought to be the first legumes to be domesticated (around the same time that wheat and barley were domesticated), originally in Southwest Asia (McGee, 2004).

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Print Recipe
Red Lentils and Rice
adapted from Curries and Bugles This meal comes together quickly and served over rice it makes 6-8 generous portions. The leftovers keep wonderfully in the fridge. Note: The butter on top is not necessary, but highly recommended! In traditional Indian cooking, ghee, or clarified butter is used to sauté the onions and spices. I do not usually have ghee on hand, but I find that a generous pad of butter added at the end mellows the flavors and brings everything together nicely.
red lentils and rice
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. red lentils
  • ½ yellow onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger chopped
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (or 2-4 tomatoesdepending on size)
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 hot pepper (optional red pepper flakes can be substituted)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro and butter for garnish
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. red lentils
  • ½ yellow onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger chopped
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (or 2-4 tomatoesdepending on size)
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 hot pepper (optional red pepper flakes can be substituted)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro and butter for garnish
red lentils and rice
Instructions
  1. Wash lentils in cold water until water runs clear.
  2. Bring lentils and tomatoes to a boil in 6 cups water.
  3. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. While the lentils are cooking, sauté the onions for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.
  5. Once lentils are cooked, combine the onion/spice mixture with the lentils.
  6. Server over short grain brown rice and garnish with butter and cilantro.


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