|red lentil dal with brown rice, sauteed garlicky curly kale, turkey-veggie meatball, pear and clementine slices|
It's definitely not too late, no matter your kids' ages. This mellow dal is a great introduction to eastern spices for curry-lovers-in-training. (Darwin started eating it when he was around nine months old.) It features the best of Indian flavors: warming ginger, garlic, fried spices, and that mysterious marrying of coconut and tomato that seems absurd in western cuisine but works so beautifully in curries.
We like it over brown rice with a few torn cilantro leaves on top and a dollop of whole plain yogurt. We almost always add something to it while it's simmering: a chopped carrot, some cauliflower florets, or a cup of garbanzo beans (if you're adding a lot of anything, scale up the spices to match.)
Basic, Delicious Dal
1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped very finely
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 generous Tbls. extra virgin coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 Tbls. freshly grated ginger
1 tsp. ground coriander (freshly ground is best)
1 tsp. ground cumin seeds (freshly ground is best)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch cayenne (optional)
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and fry onions until translucent, about five minutes.
Add garlic, ginger and spices and fry a minute more, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot.
Add tomatoes and cook five minutes more, stirring frequently, until tomatoes have begun breaking down into sauce.
Add lentils, stir to coat, then add 2.5 cups of water. (This is also the time to add any extra vegetables you like.)
Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover, checking and stirring occasionally until the lentils completely soften and break apart, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the salt and taste. Adjust with more salt if needed.
Serve topped with yogurt and fresh torn cilantro leaves.