Friday, March 11, 2011

Red Lentil Dal with Cumin-Fried Onions and Wilted Spinach

We are drastically reducing the amount of meat we eat at our house. Why? For our own better health, the health of the earth and the health of our budget. Dishes like this make it a delicious endeavor. This is simple, fast, easy, filling and super, SUPER healthy. This was a big winner with kids and grown-ups alike.

Red Lentil Dal with Cumin-Fried Onions and Wilted Spinach

2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
6 cups water
1 (1x1-inch) hunk of fresh ginger, peeled but left whole
¼ tsp ground turmeric
2 cloves garlic, 1 peeled but left whole, the other chopped
1 cinnamon stick (optional, but really nice)
½ bunch spinach (about 2 cups) washed thoroughly, stemmed, dried and chopped coarsely**
1 ¼ tsp salt
3 T vegetable oil
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, sliced into half-moons
1 dz grape or pear tomatoes, halved lengthwise***
A squeeze of ½ lemon (optional)

Place the rinsed lentils in a large heavy-bottomed pot and add water (it will cover the lentils, plus a little extra.) Add the ginger, turmeric, whole garlic clove and the cinnamon stick (if using).

Bring to a lively simmer, then lower the heat, cover, and cook the lentils at a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes.

Remove the ginger, garlic and cinnamon stick. If the lentils have not pureed on thri own to your liking, run a whist through the pot a few times and, within seconds, they will be completely pureed. Add the salt, taste, then add more as needed.

Add the spinach, give it a quick stir, and return the cover to the pot. The spinach will wit quickly.

Meanwhile, in a 9- or 10-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the cumin seeds. Cook briefly (15 seconds) then add the garlic and onions. Cook over medium heat, allowing the onions to brown at the edges, at least 5 minutes. Add the cayenne and tomatoes (if using), stir to caot, and taste for salt, adding if you feel the need.

Transfer the fried onion mixture to the dal, stir, and serve. If using, squeeze the lemon over the dish as a last-minute flavor spritz.

Serve with homemade or purchased flatbread.

** I used double the spinach and didn’t chop it and will do the same next time.
***I used way more and will do the same next time.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

we are trying to do the same thing as well as cutting back on dairy. can't wait to try this.