Lentils are an elemental part of all Indian meals. They are usually served as a side dish, often accompanied by another side of vegetables, but they can also be the star of any meal. They are the most versatile of all produce and are also inexpensive, healthy, quick and easy to cook. Once you know the basics of cooking lentils, you can experiment endlessly, throwing in different vegetables, meats, and concoctions of spices. The apparent tastelessness and flavorlessness of lentils make them a perfect base for a variety of flavors.
Different kinds of lentils have different cooking times. Some need to be soaked for 24 hours before cooking, whereas some take less than 20 minutes to be done. As a graduate student who is always pressed for time, I have realized that split red lentils or split green grams work best for me. Since I do not always have the luxury of making a second side dish to go with my lentils, I try to make my lentils stand on their own that can be had either as a soup or a an effective side dish when served over a bowl of rice, or with bread.
This simple, humble and impromptu recipe that I am sharing today uses split red lentils (mosoor dal) and takes just minutes to put together with almost no preparation time.
Garlic and Spinach lentils recipe
Level: easy Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 20 mins Total time: 30 mins Serves: 4
1 cup Split red lentils
4 cups water
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ghee/butter
3 cloves of garlic (large), chopped
1 whole dry red chili
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp sugar
9 oz or 250 grams spinach (frozen or fresh)
Wash the lentils thoroughly in a pan.
Add the water, salt and turmeric and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In another small pan heat the ghee/butter.
Add dry red chili, garlic, sugar and red chili powder. Saute for 1 minute.
Add chopped tomato and saute until the tomato has softened.
Add the tomato mixture and spinach to the lentil.
Adjust seasoning, bring it to a boil and serve hot.