Curried Red Dal


Like New Orleans red beans and rice, this hot, spicy lentil stew is the ultimate in comfort food. It’s great in winter made with canned tomatoes, but fresh summer tomatoes take it to new heights. Serve it with Pickled Slaw and Raita, that cooling combination of yogurt and cucumber

, and bask in the compliments. SAM

2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced and divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 pound new potatoes
3 cups water, divided
1 cup red lentils
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 bay leaf
1 to 2 teaspoons hot curry powder
1/2 teaspoon roasted, ground cumin
1/3 cup marsala wine or dry sherry
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
4 cups fresh peeled, chopped tomatoes or 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes in juice
Sea salt to taste

Set aside one slice of onion. In a large chef’s pan sweat the remaining onions in 1 tablespoon oil until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. In a small saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water. Simmer, covered, until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and chop roughly. Rinse the lentils and place in a medium chef’s pan with 3 cups water and the reserved slice of onion. Simmer, covered, until soft and flaky, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the garlic and bay leaf. When the onions are sweated, raise the heat to medium high and add the curry powder and cumin. Stir until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the lentil mixture, potatoes, black beans, and tomatoes and salt to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until creamy, about 30 minutes. Serve over basmati rice or couscous with Pickled Slaw and Raita, or thin with yogurt, cream, or water for soup.
Makes 3 quarts.

6 Responses to Curried Red Dal

  1. lakshmi says:

    this sounds really good – btw, what would be a good substitute for cous cous?

    Couscous is wheat pasta. You could substitute a small twisted pasta or even a spaghetti or linguine. In as Egyptian restaurant not long ago I had a wonderful dish of tomatoes, fava beans, and a tubular pasta. I don’t know the name of it. But brown rice is always a good substitute for couscous. The dal is great on basmati rice, a short-grained brown rice.

  2. Raaga says:

    Nice 🙂 this is the first time I’ve seen Raita spelt Riata. I’m guessing its the same thing.

    I misspelled it! How embarrassing! I appreciate so much your catching this error and telling me. Cheers!

  3. Nice recipe emily! I was busy with the festival. How are you?

    How was your festival? I’m busy also. I posted your event extension yesterday and will add a reminder this week. I’m sending you a snack recipe called ‘Cheese Straws’–but, of course, I’m taking advantage of the extension.

    I’m happy you like my dal. I’d like to see what you could do with it with your South Indian seasonings.

  4. Happy Cook says:

    Hey it is the first time i see a lentil recipe with marsala ( ifit is marsala wine you meant and not masala)
    I should try this as i have marsala wine ( if it was that you were using) left which i bought once for making a italian dish

    Yes, it is marsala wine, not masala. I just now made that clarification in the recipe. Thanks for the tip. Marsala gives vegetables a wonderful nutty flavor. You add it to the almost sautéed vegetables, then continue to cook over medium-high heat until the wine is reduced. That burns off all the bitter alcohols and leaves only the flavor. If you don’t have marsala, you can use dry sherry.

  5. lakshmi says:

    oh ok, and all along i was thinking cous cous must be like sabudana/ jowarisi!!! :D.

    one seasoning which south indians always add is turmeric powder – and this is as a rule always added while steaming the dal – it adds a wonderful flavour and colour besides killing all germs.

    you might also want to look up this gujarathi dish called dal dhokli – lentils with cous cous would be similar to dal dhokli i guess. it is one my fav gujarathi one dish meals.

    Great information. Thanks. I’ll experiment with turmeric. We use turmeric for cucumber pickles. The flavor is wonderful, but I didn’t know it kills germs. I will also look up your dal recipes. Cheers!

  6. sirikarn says:

    sound delicious 😛

    Thank you. It is very comforting food.

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