Dal bhat (lentil soup served over rice) takes me back to our trip to Nepal. It is the most popular dish in Nepal -- and we ate a lot of it during our trip. I happened upon a recipe for red lentil dal a while back, and now during my month of eating unprocessed foods, I figured it would be a good time to give it a try. Since potatoes also fare heavily in Himalayan meals, I decided to add in some chopped red potatoes to my dal for additional texture. Eating this meal brought me right back to the dining rooms of the teahouses that we lodged at during our trek in the Everest region -- although happily this time I didn't need to wear a hat, puffy North Face jacket, and gloves while eating it.
Dal Bhat (adapted from this Epicurious recipe)
makes 6-8 servings
1 tablespoon organic canola oil
2 cups chopped onions (1 large onion)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups water
1 cup dried red lentils
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground curry
1 1/2 cups chopped boiled red potatoes
1 cup basmati or jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions
2 tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup onion and 1 minced garlic clove and cook until tender and golden, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside.
2. Fill a medium sauce pot with water. Bring to a boil. Add the red potatoes and boil until tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on size. Once tender, drain and return to pot. Set aside.
3. Combine the water, lentils, turmeric, cumin, ginger, curry, remaining 1 cup chopped onion and 2 minced garlic cloves in a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil.
4. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
5. Transfer about half the lentil mixture to a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth. (If using blender, keep the lid slightly askew to allow air in.)
6. Return the puree to the pot. Mix in the sauteed onion and garlic mixture. Stir in the chopped boiled potatoes. Stir and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
7. Spoon rice into bowls. Add the dal over top the rice. Top with chopped tomatoes and fresh cilantro.