February 12, 2013

Pink Dal with Chard

It's all about lentils this time of year, with more to come...

According to wikipedia, "Dal (also spelled dahl or daal) is a preparation of pulses (dried lentils, peas or beans) which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split. It also refers to the thick stew prepared from these pulses, an important part of Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, West Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine."

I have found pink (also called red) lentils in bags in the grocery store, but they seem to be more prevalent in the bulk sections of grocery stores. I actually bought a huge bag of red lentils at a halal (like the word "kosher" for Muslims) grocery store I found. I also bought some pomegranate molasses and really cheap pomegranates there. Ethnic grocery stores are usually gems - check them out if you have any nearby.

My 9-month old baby loves this dish! Well, she likes just about everything I feed her, but she really likes food with a lot of spice. That's my girl!

Pink Dal with Chard
adapted from Kitchen Riffs

1¼ cup pink lentils (or another lentil of your choosing; see Notes)
1 cup minced onion (about 1 large onion)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (a piece about 1 inch by 1½ inches, peeled)
3 - 5 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch Swiss chard or kale or spinach, washed and trimmed (a pound or a bit more)
2 teaspoons dried ground cumin
1 - 2 teaspoons dried ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Pick over lentils to remove any foreign objects, like pebbles or dirt, then wash and drain. Set aside.

Heat 3- or 4-quart Dutch oven (or another pot with a heavy bottom that will be large enough to hold the lentils and about 4 cups of water) on medium heat. When hot, add oil. After the oil heats, add onion, ginger, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté until translucent for 5-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash Swiss chard, remove any stems that are woody, and chop into pieces about an inch square (Remove stems of kale, if using. Spinach stems can be included, if using).
When the onion is translucent, add the cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Stir into the onion mixture and fry for 30 seconds. Then add the Swiss chard, stir, and cover Dutch oven with lid. Lower heat to medium-low, and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the pink lentils and 3 to 4 cups water (depending on how soupy you want the final product to be). Salt to taste, about a 1/2 teaspoon. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, but take a look at the pot after about 15 to see if you need to add more water.
When the dal is done (the lentils will be soft but still hold their shape), taste and adjust seasoning. Stir in the garam masala, remove from heat, and serve with brown rice.

1 comment:

krhjohns said...

This turned out really good, I thought. But I did need more salt at the end and then it popped more. Maybe that is what you were missing.