Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Punjabi Lentil Curry (Vegan)

This lentil curry is made with a lot of aromatic spices like garam masala and coriander powder.    It also has a tart flavor with the addition of tomatoes to the dish.  It compliments any rice and curry meal or can be eaten with a variety of Indian flat breads.

You can use any type of of lentil in this dish.  I used Chana Dal (a large chickpea style lentil).  You can also use Masoor Dal which is a reddish/orange quick cooking lentil.   If you decide to use the Chana Dal, you will have to soak it overnight so they are softer and easier to cook.  If you Masoor Dal, soaking is not needed. 

Cook the washed lentils in a large pan (I used a wok because it does not boil over in this style of pan).

Add 2 cups washed lentils to 4 cups water.
One 2 inch cinnamon stick
2 serrano chilies slit down the middle
1/2 tsp of turmeric
Boil on medium high for about 40 minutes for Channa Dal and about 20 minutes for Masoor Dal.  Cook until the lentils are tender.  Do not salt the lentils during the boiling process.

While the lentils are cooking, gather up your frying/tempering ingredients.

1 medium onion chopped
10-20 curry leaves
3-4 large garlic cloves grated
2 inches of ginger grated
1 tsp of cumin seed
1 tsp of mustard seed
1 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of garam masala
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1 (10oz) can of diced tomatoes or 2 fresh tomatoes finely diced
Salt (to taste)
Red Chili Flakes (to taste)  -This is optional

To start the frying/tempering process add 2 Tbs of canola oil to a pan on med-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add your cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves.  Fry for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until the ingredients become fragrant and splutter without burning.

Add your chopped onions and fry for 1-2 minutes.

Add your ginger and garlic and fry for another 1-2 minutes.

 Add your powdered spices and fry for another minute.

Add your canned or fresh tomato and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Salt dish here.

Add your cooked lentils to dish and mix well.  Taste for salt and seasoning here.  Add 1 tsp of lemon or lime juice at the end of the cooking process and turn off stove.

Serves 6-8 people. Garnish with cilantro if you desire.  Enjoy.

Copyright: All content, photos and text are property of Curry and Comfort and cannot be used without permission