Red Lentil Dal – For When Your Sick

I really thought I wouldn’t get sick this early in the season, but when I started hearing rumors of a cold going around I began to get this sinking feeling that I was next.  I’m one of those people who gets sick if a contagious person even looks in my direction.  I take vitamins, drink tea & OJ, eat a healthy diet, but I still get sick 2-3 times every cold season.

The first day of my cold I wanted nothing but soup, which of course I had none.  At lunch I dragged myself to the kitchen, sat on a stool at the stove and made a delicious and relatively simple garlic soup.  The smell of the garlic hitting the pan was enough to make my tummy rumble and my spirits lift.  For dinner I wanted something warm and hearty, but also a bit spicy to clear my head.  Elise from Simply Recipes had just posted her Red Lentil Dal, but I didn’t have some of the spices listed.  I used information from the comments and some research online to figure out a recipe using what spices I had.

The result was just what my head and stomach needed.  Thick and filling without being heavy.  Spicy enough to make my head feel clear, if only for 10 minutes.  I made enough for the next couple days and stuck it in the fridge.

You know, I think it tasted better the next day.  With a swirl of plain yogurt on top to balance the heat.

Hmm… I think there is still a bowl left… suddenly I am hungry.

Red Lentil Dal

Adapted from Elise Bauer’s Red Lentil Dal on Simple Recipes.

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried ground ginger
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

1.  Pour the lentils into a metal sieve or colander and rinse well.  Dump into a medium saucepan with 4 cups of water.  Bring this to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan heat a couple swirls of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring until the onions are soft, about 4 minutes.  Make sure not to burn them.  Add all the spices except the turmeric and stir continuously for an additional 2 minutes then add the turmeric and stir well.  Its going to look really dry, that’s ok.

3.  Pour the lentils and water into the pot with the spices and mix very well.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the halved tomatoes, salt & pepper.  Cook for 3-4 more minutes.  Serve with plain Greek yogurt or sour cream and a squeeze of lemon.

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