Making Lentil Dal

I’m continuing my journey into Indian cooking. My most recent challenge was the lentil dal. I’ve always loved this soup when I’ve gone to Indian restaurants, but I had not tried to make it at home yet. Glad I did, because not only was it super tasty, it was super easy.

Not Paleo! WAPF to the Rescue!

Paleo diets are very much anti-legume. From the article Foods to Avoid on The Paleo Diet:

Legumes have a similar story to grains; they weren’t consumed by the paleo hunter-gatherer because they needed to be cooked in order to be edible. Legumes also have similar traits to grains in their make-up; they contain phytates which inhibit nutrient absorption and cause inflammation. They also contain lectins and play with healthy hormonal functions.

I don’t disagree with the above statement, however the WAPF (Weston A Price Foundation) focuses more on food preparation. They have learned how traditional cultures prepared legumes to deal with those problems. Our ancestors used soaking, sprouting and fermenting to lower the anti-nutrient properties of legumes. Soaking and sprouting also reduces the cooking time, which would have been important to traditional cultures without supplies of easily accessible energy.

soak-sprout-lentil

Sprout those lentils!

When I went to make dal, like so many other Indian recipes I found an endless and often contradictory advice. But I summoned my David Lynch wisdom and created this wonderful soup. Don’t let a missing ingredient (other than the lentils) stop you from making this soup. Dial up the heat with spices or the creaminess with coconut milk. It all works.

Summary: A soaked and sprouted lentil dal recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dry lentils (they will expand after soaking/sprouting)
  • 3 cups of filtered water
  • 3 gloves of garlic
  • 1-2 inch piece of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1-2 hot peppers (your call on the heat, use what you got)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cooking oil (butter, ghee, coconut oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or chili powder (optional)
  • 1/3 can of coconut milk or coconut cream (optional)
  • chopped cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  1. Soak and sprout lentils (see the tutorial on I Believe In Butter).
  2. Add lentils, turmeric, salt and water to saucepan and bring to simmer.
  3. In a skillet, toast cumin seeds 1-2 minutes then grind (or set aside ground cumin).
  4. Chop up garlic, ginger and hot pepper.
  5. Cook garlic, ginger and hot pepper for a few minutes and then toss into lentil saucepan.
  6. Add cumin into lentils.
  7. Add coconut milk/cream to lentils.
  8. Add cayenne/chili powder to lentils.
  9. (optional) Use an immersion blender on the lentils for a few seconds if you like a more creamy texture. (I did)
  10. I cooked the lentils for about 20 minutes. Let taste decide.
  11. (optional) Add chopped cilantro to top.
  12. Serve.

lentil-dal

Lentil dal soup.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s) (plus sprouting time for the lentils)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Culinary tradition: Indian (Northern)

Published by

MAS

Critical MAS is the blog for Michael Allen Smith of Seattle, Washington. My interests include traditional food, fitness, economics, and web development.

2 thoughts on “Making Lentil Dal”

  1. Thanks. I’ve thought about a strict paleo diet, but I’m addicted to carbohydrates. I’ve been experimenting with sprouted corn tortillas, sprouted tofu, etc. I can’t say I’ve noticed any advantage in particular, but I don’t have a way to measure any particular effect. I’ll give this recipe a try.

  2. @Scott – I think Paleo is a good foundation, but humans have learned a lot about traditional food preparation since the age of cavemen. Sprouting legumes is something that different cultures figured independently. That is good enough for me.

Comments are closed.