in keeping with the cold weather this week, i made my first dal of the year. red lentils are very quick to cook so this dish comes together in about 30 minutes if you are a fast vegetable chopper. i am currently reading the very excellent book the kitchen diaries by british food writer nigel slater who chronicles a year of eating and cooking in his kitchen. the very first recipe featured was a variation of this dal. instead of the pumpkin slater uses, i combine the red lentils with some sweet potato and carrots which were languishing in the back of my fridge. slater tops his dal with caramelized onions but i used some leftover avocado and lemon juice. plain yogurt would also be very good.
ps- this is also a homemade bowl!
sweet potato carrot dal
inspired by the kitchen diaries by nigel slater
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 inch or so fresh ginger minced or grated
1 heaping cup split red lentils
1 tsp turmeric (adjust all of these spices to your liking)
1 tsp smoked paprika (i put this on anything that i can)
1 tsp curry power
1 tsp chili powder or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large sweet potato diced into 1/2 inch cubes
2 large carrots diced into 1/2 inch cubes
cilantro (if you have it)
in a heavy pot, sautee the onion with 2 tbsp of canola oil over medium heat until soft. add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 45 or seconds. add all of the spices and cook until fragrant. add the sweet potato and carrot and cook for several more minutes. add the lentils and cover with about 6 cups of water or a light vegetable broth. cook until everything is tender. at this point you can put this in your blender (in batches) to puree or, if you are lazy like me, mash roughly with a potato masher. the problem with the masher method is that you will still get pieces of ginger. put the dal back into the pot if you pureed it, and turn up the heat until the dal is thick. make sure you keep tasting and checking the seasoning. this seems to take more salt then other soups or stews. top dal with some caramelized onions, avocado, or plain yogurt.