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Turmeric Spiked Red Lentil and Spinach Dal

Turmeric Spiked Red Lentil and Spinach Dal

Turmeric is one of nature's most powerful healing and anti-inflammatory foods, which makes it convenient for those of us who like to cook Indian food that it is also such an essential ingredient in curries. Earthy, slightly bitter, and ranging from aromatic to pungent in taste, turmeric is difficult to take just on its own, but it makes for a delicious background to other Indian seeds and spices.

This simple, nourishing and easy-to-digest red lentil and spinach curry is seasoned with a flavorful variety of aromatic seeds and spices including fennel and fenugreek seeds and, if you can get them, peppery nigella seeds. As such, this creamy curry is spiked with a little more than the usual amount of turmeric, making it a great way to get more of this wonderful food in your diet

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon nigella (kalonji or black onion) seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango) powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups water, or more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
Instructions:
  • Heat the oil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds if using, fenugreek seeds and fennel seeds. Fry until the seeds begin to splutter and pop. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the turmeric, cayenne, amchoor, paprika, asafetida, ginger and carrot. Stir for another minute or two.
  • Stir in the lentils, coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer until the lentils are tender and falling apart — about 20 minutes. Add a little more water for a soupier consistency.
  • Stir in the salt and add handfuls of spinach, stirring as you go, until wilted. Taste for seasoning and serve hot with rice or flatbreads.

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