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Indian Dahl

Dahl, which is also often spelled dhal,daal and dal, is essentially a thick lentil soup that is often prepared with ghee or clarified butter, but this recipe uses just a little sesame oil for depth and flavor in place of the ghee. This simple dahl is one of my favorite go-to recipes as it is prepared with all pantry staples, it is easy and quick to prepare, and my friends and family love it. Our family likes it served with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprinkling of dried cranberries. If your kids are sensitive to cayenne, skip it and add it to adult bowls after.

Ingredients:

  • 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 (keep leftover in 2 Tablespoon portions in the freezer for next time)

Preparation:

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.

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.

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.

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