Bengal red lentils with spices

Yield: 4 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1½ cup Red lentils (masar dal)
6 Hot green chilies
½ teaspoon Turmeric
4½ cup Water
1½ teaspoon Salt; or to taste
4 tablespoons Usli ghee or light vegetable oil
1 cup Minced onion
1 tablespoon Grated or crushed ginger
1 cup Finely chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons Usli ghee or light vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Panch phoron mix (equal quantities of cumin seed; fennel seed; brown mustard seed; fenugreek seed, and black onion seed)
4 Bay leaves
4 Dry red chili pods
2 teaspoons Minced garlic (optional)

FOR COOKING THE DAL

FOR FLAVORING THE DAL

FOR THE SPICE-PERFUMED BUTTE

Bengal Red Lentils with Spices (Bengali Masar Dal) From Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking, Julie Sahni 1. Pick, clean, wash and cook the dal using the red lentils, chilies, turmeric, salt and water. Put the ingredients in a deep pot; bring to boil.

Stir often to make sure they do not lump together. Cook over medium heat, partially covered for 25 minutes. Cover, reduce heat, and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes or until soft.

2. While the lentils are cooking heat the usli ghee in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the onion and fry, stirring constantly, until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Add the ginger and tomatoes and continue frying until the tomatoes are cooked and the contents reduce to a thick pulp (about 8 minutes). Stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning.

3. Blend the fried onion-tomato paste and salt to taste into the dal; continue cooking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the flavors have blended in. Keep the dal on a low simmer while you make the spice-perfumed butter.

4. Measure the spices and place them right next to the stove in separate piles. Heat the usli ghee in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the panch phoron spice blend. When the mustard seeds are spaterring and the cumin turns a little darker (about 15 seconds), add the bay leaves and chili pods. Continue frying until the chili turns dark (15-20 seconds), turning and tossing them. Turn off the heat, add the garlic, and let mixture fry, sizzling for 25 seconds or until it looks light golden. Pour the entire contents of the pan over the dal, mix well, and serve.

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