Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Drifting East

I've been in the mood for all things Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Persian, and Indian lately. Today my body decided it needed protein, so I made red lentil dal inspired by Mark Bittman, but I made changes. That's what I do.

I like my Indian food with toasty spices, even if it's not the preferred method for cooking a particular dish.

Onion and Spice Mixture
2 tsp butter
1 tbsp whole mustard seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 whole cloves
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large spring onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
8 ounces red lentils
fresh cilantro for garnish
chopped tomato for garnish

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and stir in spices. Heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add onions and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized, about 10 minutes. Remove half of mixture from pan and reserve.

Add lentils to the saucepan and cover with about 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes, adding more water if dal becomes too thick.

When ready to serve, stir in reserved onion and spice mixture, butter and salt to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro and chopped tomato.

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