Lentils with Spinach
A great dal with some rice (like jasmine or basmati) is one of my favorite bowls of comfort food and this is simple recipe is standard across India. I used moong dal (dried mung beans), which you can easily find at any Indian grocery store, Whole Foods or Amazon, or you can use other Indian lentils, too. This recipe calls for tempering whole spices (toasting spices in fat) - it's pretty incredible how this short step can kick up a pot of lentils. The recipe is really simple and the finish with the tempered whole spices makes all the difference.
One note: if you’re interested in keeping it authentic, ghee or clarified butter is the route to take, as opposed to butter. I’ve seen ghee at my local grocery store, either in the “ethnic” or oils/dressings aisle; it’s becoming much more common and easier to find. Ghee is made by simmering butter over a low heat, until the oil and milk solids separate; that leftover oil is ghee. You can try to make your own ghee by cooking down butter or just buy a jar, which is what I do. It has a distinct flavor and a little goes a long way!
- 3/4 c dry moong dal
- 2 c low sodium broth + 2 c water
- 1 small, ripe tomato quartered
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 c spinach/arugula (or whatever greens you like)
- 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) or butter
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 big cloves of garlic, sliced
- 1 dried red chili
- Toast the dry dal for 3 mins on high.
- Add the broth, water, tomato, turmeric, and salt to the pot and boil uncovered on medium heat for 25 mins. Lower the heat a little and then boil for another 10 mins, covered.
- Turn off the heat and add the greens. Mix well and set aside.
- Next, to the tempering! Heat the pan to medium-high heat and add the ghee or butter. Next, add the cumin, dried red chili, and garlic. Tilt the pan and cook until the garlic slices are golden brown. This whole process is about 2 or 3 mins.
- Add the tempered ingredients to the dal and mix it in. Serve with rice (and maybe a piece of fried fish or some green peas).