1 cup red lentils (or your preferred lentil, adjusting cooking time to suit)
1 onion, finely chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds
½ cinnamon stick
2 dried red chilies (try our Whole Thai Chilies)
3 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods
6 black peppercorns
1 tomato, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ tablespoons ghee or butter
3 cups water
basmati rice (or your favorite rice)
cilantro (optional garnish)
Dal bhat is a Nepalese staple of lentils and rice, commonly eaten as part of a daily diet—sometimes by themselves, and other times, as part of a larger meal consisting of several side dishes. Lentils are highlighted as having many health benefits, but the benefit we’ll focus on here is the one your taste buds experience when surrounded by the rich, spiced flavors of freshly ground masala made using black mustard seeds, dried red chilies, savory cumin and sweet but subtle cinnamon.
Grind the whole spices into a fine powder and set aside.
Rinse the lentils under cold water and allow to them drain.
Finely chop the tomato.
Peel and mince the garlic.
Peel and finely chop the onion.
In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the onion and sauté for about 8 – 10 minutes, or until the onion becomes tender and lightly browned.
Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic. Continue sautéing until the garlic becomes aromatic (about another 1 minute).
Add the freshly ground spice mix. Cook another 1 – 2 minutes, stirring to thoroughly coat the onion and garlic with the spices.
Stir in the tomato and ghee or butter. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Pour in the water and stir in the lentils. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce your heat to low. Simmer the ingredients until the lentils are tender (but not mushy), or about 15 minutes. Stir frequently while cooking.
Serving dal bhat
Serve the lentils hot with rice. Optionally, garnish with a sprig or two of fresh cilantro.
Note: make this dish vegan by substituting butter/ghee with vegan butter or oil.