Dare I Say Dahl?

Sometimes when I feel lonely, I will open my spice cabinet and breath in the smell; it makes me feel close to people that I love. What says home like 7-spice, cumin, ginger, garlic and curry? 

When I think of home, I think of times spent with family and friends, good food and these flavors. Maybe that’s why I love dahl so much. Ginger, garlic, warm, homey spices; it has amazing power. The strong aromatics almost make problems melt away for a few moments when you take a deep breath and feel home. I associate these smells with love and laughs. 

I told you before; I’m not an expert on Indian food, but I’m actually willing to call this “dahl”. It’s delicious and has become my go-to way of making lentils (red lentils, at least; brown lentils get made into mjaddara 😉 ) I hope you like it.

1 cup red lentils

Zest of 1 lemon

3 cups water

1 1/2 inches minced ginger

2 cloves minced garlic

2 tomatoes

1/2 large yellow onion

1 serrano, sliced 2 inches vertically (make a vertical incision 🙂 – surgery for serranos)


1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp corriander

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp mustard seeds (I use brown)

Pinch fresh ground cumin

2 tbsps vegan butter

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Put lentils, onion, garlic, ginger, tomato, lemon zest and serrano in pan with water. Bring to a gentle boil on med-high heat, then turn down and let simmer partially covered until lentils are done through and tomatoes and onions have lost some of their shape. This will allow the ginger a chance to cook as well. Some of the water will also evaporate during this process; leaving it partially covered will allow the lentils to retain most of their moisture.

Heat butter and oil in a small skillet. Add spice mix into hot butter for a few seconds, no more than 30, then pour the spice mix into the lentils. So that I don’t leave any in the pan, after I pour the mixture, I usally put some lentils into the pan and stir them around to pick up the rest of the spice mix; I do this two or three times to get all of the excess.

Stir and salt to taste.

Enjoy. 🙂