Some years ago, we did a pot-luck lunch at work, and my then-coworker Arthur (@hungryplanner) brought in a vegetarian lentil dish he called “mung ki dal”. I have no idea if it’s a real authentic Indian recipe, but it was the first time I had a savory vegetarian dish that was oh-my-god-I-could-eat-the-whole-thing delicious that wasn’t pizza or pasta. I asked Arthur for the recipe, and make it somewhat regularly now. It’s one of only two vegetarian mains that I make from scratch on a regular basis (ravioli in marinara sauce doesn’t count) — although I more often have it as a starch complement to a chicken curry (instead of rice or naan) rather than as a main dish. I asked him if I could publish it on the Web, so here goes (sorry, no pictures!). Arthur prefers yellow lentils in this dish, but I’ve never seen such a thing in the supermarkets where I live (green and black, yes, but never yellow) so I use red lentils.
|1 cup||yellow or red lentils|
|2 cups||cold water (slightly less for red lentils)|
|1 tsp||ground turmeric|
|¼ tsp||ground red pepper (I use cayenne)|
|4 tbl (2 oz)||butter (or ghee if you have it)|
|1 tsp||cumin seed|
|1 tbl||chopped parsley (optional)|
- Pick over lentils to remove non-lentil matter, then rinse in a mesh strainer until water runs clear.
- Place lentils, water, turmeric, salt, and red pepper in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover partially; simmer until lentils are tender (about 25 minutes for red lentils, longer for yellow).
- Slice onion thinly from pole to pole. (I cut the onion in half, remove the core, then use my V-slicer, and it works well enough. Slicing radially would probably give better results but I’m lazy.)
- Melt 3 tbl (1½ oz) butter in a skillet until water has boiled off. Bloom the cumin in the hot fat for 15–30 seconds, then add sliced onions and sauté until slightly browned, about 8 minutes.
- Add cooked onion to cooked lentil mixture and simmer for another 2 minutes. If you overmix, the lentils will break down completely.
- Top with remaining 1 tbl butter and parsley and serve.
Arthur’s recipe doesn’t specify a yield. I get three servings as a side, which is how I’ve computed the data below; as a main dish it’s probably two servings (certainly would be for me, anyway, assuming I managed to stop before finishing the whole pot).
|Serving size: about a cup|
|Servings per recipe: 3|
|Amount per serving|
|Calories 399||Calories from fat 134|
|% Daily Value|
|Total Fat 15g||23%|
|Saturated Fat 9g||45%|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0g|||
|Trans Fat 0g|||
|Total Carbohydrate 47g||16%|
|Dietary fiber 13g||52%|