In the family, we all love lentils. As we live in Spain, country of the Mediterranean diet, we get to eat lentils often. The kids get them at least once a week for their lunch at school, and we also like to make lentil dishes, soups, curries, at home.
And Indian lentil curries are among my favorites. Masoor dahl, mong dahl, yellow lentils, red lentils, brown ones, we love them! This curry has a wonderful coconut flavor (from the coconut milk), and features both animal and plant protein. And there is the spicy and lemony touch of the homemade Indian lime pickle. You can also buy the pickle in most Asian stores.
Serves 4 – Total time 45 min
1.5 cup (300g) small brown lentils
2 cups (450ml) water
3 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 red chili pepper, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk (without starch added)
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
4 hard-boiled eggs
some homemade lime pickle (optional but recommended)
Note: it’s best to soak the lentils overnight, to make them more digestible. They will also cook quicker if they’ve been previously soaked in water.
Start by grilling the spices without any added fat in a small pan. Then, crush spices with a pestle and mortar or with an electric coffee grinder.
Heat the oil and add the onion, garlic, chili pepper. Fry until the onion is tender. Add the spices, and fry for another minute, stirring often.
Add lentils, coconut milk, and water, and bring to a boil.
Cover and cook on low heat for about 35 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Add the lemon juice.
Serve the curry with basmati rice, 1 hard-boiled egg per person, and some lime pickle.