Hey all! What a heck of a day—whew. Glad to finally be in this little space with you! Let’s talk about lentils or dal. Or is it daal, dahl, or dhal? No matter how it’s spelled, just know it means split lentils. Also, are they red, pink, orange, or maybe even salmon colored? So many questions. What’s for certain though is that this Red Lentil Curry Dal is going to ROCK your socks off. Yesssss!
I know, I know, this dish isn’t entirely photogenic, BUT it is absolutely drool-worthy. It’s easy as can be to throw together and takes no time at all to cook. We’re talking like 20 minutes here, my friends. Weeknight meal coming at ‘cha.
Sooo, this is the third Indian dish I’ve made at home and let me tell you, they’re all winners! Just as with my Palak Paneer and Paneer Makhani you’ll need a few Indian spices to make this dish. Spices are the key to FLAVOR! :)
First up is curry paste, which you can take a peek at in the picture above—it’s the one in the measuring spoon. It’s thick, spicy, and a smidge oily, but the flavor. Oh, the flavor! Next up are curry powder, turmeric, chili powder, and cayenne. Indian food = spicy…so bring it on! Adjusting the cayenne will help give you more or less heat, whichever you prefer.
I swear my lentils are more pink-ish in real life, even though they’re beautifully orange in my picture. Gorgeous little things aren’t they?
There’s also coconut milk and lime juice in this Red Lentil Curry Dal…talk about yum! The coconut milk makes it’s lusciously creamy and the lime juice helps jazz it all up + it pairs perfectly with all the spices. Then you round out all the flavors with a generous drip of honey. It’s certainly not enough to make this dish sweet at all, but it does even out the flavor profile. Not too acidic, not to sweet. In other words, right on-point.
Overall, this dish was super duper delicious! The spice factor is perrrrfecto. I’m really beginning to learn just how important spices are—they can really make a dish next level amazing! Sure you can just boil lentils and salt them, but what fun is that? Spice up your life, friends! Dare I say this dish rivals some of the best Indian dishes I’ve had so far? Boom! I just did. Ha! :)
I read somewhere that lentils are supposed to be cooked down to mush essentially—that they aren’t meant to be al dente. Interesting, huh? I love this because it makes cooking them very easy…just toss ‘em into the pot and boil away. Speaking of boiling, if you lay a wooden spoon across the pot while the lentils cook down, it’ll keep the pot from boiling over. You know how sometimes starchy foods can make the water bubble over? Problem solved. Don’t ask how it works, just know that it does! :) I only know because I gave it a shot with this dish.
Okay, it’s been a super long day, so I’m going to wrap this up so I can go rest my head…and then go do the craziness all over again. The good news? I’ve already hit the mat today for day 15 of my 30-day yoga challenge—half way there (read more here)!!! And now that I got this post up (finally!)…I can go to bed feeling accomplished.
Rest easy, my friends!
- 2 cups rice (I used jasmine)
- 10 cups water
- 4 cups red lentils (or pink, orange, or salmon colored)
- 3 tbsp. curry paste
- 1 tbsp. curry powder
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- ¾ tsp. cayenne pepper (use more or less depending on how spicy you want it)
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup water + more, if necessary (to reach desired consistency)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp. honey
- Cook the rice according to package directions.
- Bring the water (10 cups) to a boil in a large pot set over high heat. Once boiling, add the lentils and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 18-20 minutes, or until thickened. Make sure to stir often, so the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat to low.
- Add the curry paste, curry powder, chili powder, salt, turmeric, cayenne, and black pepper. Stir until fully incorporated.
- Add the coconut milk, water, lime juice, and honey. Stir to incorporate. Remove pot from heat.
- Serve warm over rice.
Adapted from Pinch of Yum