I discovered dal a few years ago at an awesome Himalayan restaurant in Petaluma, CA.  Since they eventually sold the restaurant, I was determined to recreate it at home.  Since then it has become one of my staple foods that I love to experiment with.  Dal is an Indian term referring to when a lentil is cooked long enough to separate from its hull.  Here's one recipe for dal, but play with it as you can use the lentil soup as a blank canvas: Dal Soup

Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients:

Olive oil

2 large carrots, diced small

2 small onions or 1 large, diced

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced small

2 large red skinned potatoes, peeled and diced small

1 1/2 cup red lentils

1 tsp grated ginger (feel free to use more if you like ginger)

2 cloves garlic, minced

Zest of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground clove

Dash of cayenne, to taste

Juice of 1 lemon (use less if you don't want it as lemony)

1 tbsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)

6 cups veggie broth

Sea salt, to taste

3 green onions, sliced

2-3 leaves of kale, destemmed and sliced thin

Directions:

In a medium-large stock pot heat up enough olive oil to coat the bottom over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, and red skin potatoes.  Stir occasional and let cook until potatoes and carrots are soft.

Stir in red lentils, garlic, ginger, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and cayenne.  Stir for a minute or two and then deglaze the pan with the lemon juice and tamari. *Deglazing is when you put liquid into a hot pan and use a utensil to scrape the flavors that stick to the bottom of the pan off.

After the garlic seems to have cooked enough, about 2-3 minutes, add in your veggie broth and bring to a boil.  Lower your heat to a simmer and let the dal simmer until the lentils have broken down, ~20minutes.

Adjust your seasoning and then add the kale and green onions.  Stir for a minute and then serve.

Variations:

Spice with cumin, cayenne, coriander, curry and cilantro.

Play with using different vegetables as the base.

Add some coconut milk for a sweeter, thicker soup.

Blend it until smooth.

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