Masoor Red Lentil (Curry) Dal

 (Sometimes called Kitchari)
Serves 4 in ~1 hour

This healing Indian red lentil “dal” (soup) is easy to prepare and will soon become a favorite dinner in your home. Because it uses the tiny salmon-colored lentils, it takes less than one hour to make. This particular blend of anti-inflammatory spices is good for all body-types and is particularly easy to digest. It uses ghee, or clarified butter, which adds richness without milk protein. It is great with brown rice, roasted beets and asparagus.

1 cup red lentils
5 cups pure water
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 T. black mustard seeds
1 cup onion, diced small
1 Tbs. ginger root, minced
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 T. ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil if ghee not available
1 T.+ sea salt
2 Tbs. parsley, finely chopped
¼ c. cilantro, minced

Spice mix:
2 t. cumin seeds (ground)
1 t. fennel seeds (ground)
1 t. ground turmeric plus ½ t. fresh grated turmeric root, if available
½ - 1 t. cayenne pepper, depending on your preference for such heat

1½ cups cooked brown basmati rice

Gather and prep ingredients. Sort through and wash the lentils to remove any debris, rinsing several times.  Place in a four-quart soup pot with 5 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, skimming off any foam that forms. Turn down the heat and add the carrots, celery and simmer for 10 minutes.  

While it is simmering, grind the cumin and fennel seeds and mix with the cayenne and turmeric.  After the lentils have been cooking for 10 minutes, heat the ghee in a small pan.  Add the black mustard seeds and cook about 15 seconds, before adding the garlic, ginger and onion.  Reduce the heat to medium and sauté for 3-5 minutes.  Now add the ground spice mix, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes.  Once the beans have cooked about 30 minutes, stir in the salt and the ghee-onion-spice mixture and parsley. Simmer an additional 5 minutes and serve hot in a flat soup bowl.  Place a quarter-cup size dollop of rice in the center of a flat soup bowl and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley.

Even if you’re cooking for yourself, always make extra to freeze for another night!