Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Arhar Dal


A vegetarian dish of lentils in a spicy gravy served over rice.

Arhar Dal:  A vegetarian dish of lentils in a spicy gravy served over rice.

One of the things I love about Indian food is that it can be very simple.  Once you have some basic ingredients and spices you can whip up a quick dinner with very few and inexpensive ingredients.  I always have lentils and rice in my pantry and the spices, once stocked, last a while. 

So when I was planning what to make for dinner and there was very little food in the house I immediately thought of Arhar Dal.   This dish is made with toor dal (split yellow pigeon peas), which I actually had, but I think it would taste fine with any type of lentil.  And I had a pre made spice mix which I think is mostly turmeric and chili powder.  The rest of the ingredients are all simple things I always keep on hand.  I was proud to make a healthy and filling dinner without having to spend a lot of money.


1 cup dry lentils
1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger
1 onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 tsp Arhar dal spice

Cook and drain lentils, set aside (I added a few dashes of turmeric and salt to the cooking water).

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat and add the oil.  Add the cumin seeds and let sputter then add the ginger and garlic.  Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant.

Add the onions and cook until translucent and then add the tomatoes.  Cook for a few minutes more and then add the lentils and spice mix.  Salt and pepper to taste and you can always add more chili powder if you want to spicier.

Mix thoroughly adding a little water if needed to reach the desired consistency.  Remove from heat and serve over rice.

Makes 2-3 servings.  Serve with naan and vegetable of choice.  I served with roasted broccoli.  Enjoy.

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