Anytime I make something I feel qualifies as really good Indian food, I have to share. These curried lentils blew me away, so I have to tell you about them. Also, I get to call them “dal.” If they weren’t this good, I’d have to call them lentils.
Have you ever had lentils that were al dente? I have, hand cooked by me, and I didn’t like them. In fact, they threw shade. I must not have been cooking them right, because this time they were super soft but mostly held their shape, and perfectly incorporated into/helped form a thick, richly spiced, vibrant tomato sauce. Just what I’d always wanted, and they were easy to cook! Makes me wonder what I was doing wrong before, and it’ll forever remain a mystery cause I can’t remember.
I added plentiful amounts of bell pepper, onion and crimini mushrooms to my spicy dal concoction, and boom. Indian fusion awesomeness.
This stuff is fiercely, ridiculously nutritious, and the dal gets 95% of the credit. Have you ever eaten anything delicious that supplied 72% of your daily fiber and almost 16 grams of protein per serving? I haven’t, and I’m still in shock so I have to show you:
Per serving, about 240g: 263 calories (24 calories from fat); 2.6g fat (4%)(0.0g trans); 0mg cholesterol (0%); 109mg sodium (5%); 44.5g carbohydrates (15%); 17.9g fiber (72%); 15.9g protein; Vitamin A 56%; Calcium 6%; Vitamin C 172%; Iron 28%, Potassium 23% (info provided by caloriecount.about.com)
As if all that wasn’t enough, it’s vegan and easy and fairly cheap to make. Could this stuff get better??
Actually, yes. If you want to have a total Indian dining experience, serve it with some delicious and authentic bread like chapati. If you’re not that delicious and authentic right at the moment (I’m often not, at the end of a long day), have a tortilla instead. That’s a store-bought low carb tortilla lurking beside my dal, and it gets the job done. Tear, scoop and savor/wallow/shed tears of Indian food joy.
If you’re gluten free, make sure all your ingredients are appropriate (and skip the tortilla, obviously). Mrs. Dash says their seasonings are gluten free, but not produced in a dedicated gluten free facility.
Dal Curry with Mushrooms and Peppers
makes 8 servings
2 cups lentils (I used green…red might be prettier)
1 large onion
1 Tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic (or use 2 tsp garlic powder)
3 – 4 bell peppers, any colors
1 green chile, seeded (optional)
about 8 oz. crimini/baby bella mushrooms
1/2 – 1 Tbs fresh ginger, grated (or use 1/2 – 1 tsp dried ginger
1 – 2 tsp red curry powder
1 – 2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
2 – 3 tsp Mrs. Dash or another salt-free seasoning blend, any variety (I used Garlic and Herb)
1 Tbs brown sugar
a 14.5 oz can salt free tomatoes
a 6 oz. can salt free tomato paste
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
additional seasonings to taste
1. Put the lentils in a large sieve or a colander with very small holes and rinse them in cold water. Scrape them into a large-ish cooking pot with a lid, cover them with water and bring them to a boil for about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and let them simmer while you get on with the rest of the curry. Stir them occasionally and add more water if you need to. Lentils are really forgiving. 🙂
2. Chop or slice the onion and combine it with the olive oil in a large nonstick cooking pot. Saute on medium, stirring frequently, while you chop the garlic (or don’t if you’re using powder) and slice/chop the peppers and mushrooms. Cut them up however you like. Add all that to the sauteing onions and cook and stir them up until they start to brown and get tender.
3. Stir in the next group of ingredients; you might want to turn the heat down a bit so the seasonings don’t burn. Let all those wonderful flavors bloom together, stirring occasionally, while you blend the tomatoes, tomato paste and brown sugar into a liquid in a food processor or blender. Stir the tomato sauce into the veg.
4. By this time the lentils should be tender. Stir them into the sauce and veg. Taste. If you think it needs the salt, stir that in, and any other seasonings. I almost always end up adding more curry powder. Let everything marry for about 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
Per serving, about 240g: 263 calories (24 calories from fat); 2.6g fat (4%)(0.0g trans); 0mg cholesterol (0%); 109mg sodium (5%); 44.5g carbohydrates (15%); 17.9g fiber (72%); 15.9g protein; Vitamin A 56%; Calcium 6%; Vitamin C 172%; Iron 28%, Potassium 23%