Paul’s Indian Dal/Dhal/Dahl or “Aren’t you a doll and a great dish baby!”

Timurid by Paul Barchilon
Timurid by Paul Barchilon

This recipe amount is for one large pot, I always make big amounts of soup. I do this for many reasons, bur primarily so folks who are sick can get some and there are left-overs. You can always freeze a soup after it has cooled down on day two. I usually put soups in plastic yogurt containers, larger ones and label with the date and ingredients, for the freezer (never put glass in the freezer). I never put warm soup in plastic. I generally use quart and 1/2 gallon glass mason jars for storing soups or left overs in the refrigerator. When someone in need is sick, I have a ready bunch of soups available and can dispatch the right soup pretty quickly to whomever. And, if I’m sick or someone in my house is and no one has energy to cook, voila, good food easily available is on hand. Please see the Aisha Recipe for instructions related to curry and making your own combination.

Soaking lentils overnight is always a good idea. It isn’t necessary though, it just tenderizes and softens things and releases some of the gasses that legumes and beans tend to have. Lentils are very forgiving and easy. One of the tricks to my cooking is to have everything chopped up in bowls or handy nearby so you can just assemble it all together at the exact moment you need it. I highly recommend doing this, especially if you don’t have a sous-chef on hand, and most of us aren’t that lucky!

  • 3–4 cups of red lentils, well rinsed and washed (rinsed at least five or six times and drained)
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 onions chopped/diced up (yellow is best)
  • ¼– ½ root of fresh ginger root (grated very finely, including the juices that emerge when you are grating it)
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1–2 teaspoons garam masala (this is also a combination of herbs)
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon curry (optional, I don’t always add curry, this depends on the flavors and how things taste, sometimes I want a stronger set of flavors, sometimes not)
  • 2-4 tomatoes, chopped up into small chunks (keep the juice with them in the bowl because that will go into the dhal as well)
  • a whole bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped up

Drizzle the olive oil onto a good pan with a lid, enough to sauté the onions with. Sauté the onions for ten minutes. Add grated ginger and sauté for another minute or two.Add turmeric and then add drained lentils and stir around in the pan so the oils, ginger and onions get distributed through. Add vegetable stock or water to cover the lentils. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower heat to simmer and cover. Stir every 10–15 minutes and add water if more is needed. After about 30 minutes the lentils should be very mushy. Add the garam masala and a little curry, the chopped tomatoes and cook another 10 minutes. Add the cilantro at the last-minute. Serve over rice with tofu stir–fry, roasted almonds and raita (recipe to follow shortly). I like to have sheep milk feta on hand as well.

© Nicole Barchilon Frank

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