Fundamental to Indian and several Middle Eastern cuisines, masoor dahl can be purchased in markets catering to those regions’ clientele and in many gourmet and natural food stores. It is the simplest and most rapidly cooked of all lentils. Though originally bright orange, the lentils dull when cooked. SERVES 6 TO 8
• 1 cup masoor dahl (also called red lentils)
• 4 cups water
• 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
• 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
• 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons ground coriander
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons turmeric
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Check the dahl for stones and other debris, then rinse thoroughly. Put the dahl in a large, heavy saucepan with the water and soak for 1/2 to 1 hour.
2. Add the remaining ingredients (using half the sugar) except the turmeric, salt, and pepper. Heat to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently until the dahl is mushy and the carrot tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add extra water if necessary to prevent the dahl from sticking to the pan.
3. Stir in the turmeric and add the rest of the sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or warm in small bowls.
Cornelia Carlson holds a doctorate in biochemistry and is an avid grower and user of herbs. She writes frequently for Herbs for Health and is the author of The Practically Meatless Gourmet (Berkley, 1996). She writes from her home in Arizona.
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