This Turmeric Lentil Dahl is a deeply nourishing, highly satisfying, delicately spiced lentil stew. Like most stews the flavors permeate more over time, making this better and better – so I like to make a lot and have it sitting in the fridge for sustenance when needed.
The flavors are reminiscent of a curry but I tend to leave out any curry powder, preferring to use fresh ginger and turmeric and dried cumin (my absolute favorite spice) cardamon, coriander, black pepper and cinnamon. I know it sounds like a lot of spices but you’ll probably have most lurking in your cupboard.
If you don’t have, or can’t find fresh turmeric and ginger, used dried instead, it will still be fabulous. The rule of thumb is to use 1/2 teaspoon of ground to 1/2 inch of fresh root, cook it well in the oil thereby taking away any sort of powdery taste. The aroma of the spices toasting in the hot pan is simply Heavenly.
This can be served very thick like a stew or more soupy – your choice by adding more vegetable stock or not. It’s traditionally served with rice and naan bread (make sure the naan is warm) which is lovely, I added some fresh mint and fresh tomatoes which I think complimented the flavors beautifully.
What’s the deal with Turmeric?
We’ve all heard about the legendary health benefits of turmeric, they are indeed legendary as turmeric has been used medicinally for about 4,500 years – really! It’s actually the curcumin, a substance within turmeric that has extraordinary anti inflammatory properties, it also produces the vibrant orange color which you see when you cut into the root. Curcumin also provides powerful antioxidant properties that protect healthy cells and destroys cancerous ones. It’s also been used to treat high cholesterol and prevent heart disease. All very good reasons to add turmeric to your diet. Talk about food be thy medicine!
As a side note last year I damaged some tendons in my foot, I went to the doctor who wanted to prescribe some heavy duty anti inflammatories. I said I’d like to take turmeric instead, the doctor to her credit looked into it, agreed and told me how much to take. My foot healed beautifully and I didn’t suffer any nasty side effects from anti inflammatory drugs 🙂
What about the lentils?
Usually I use dried red lentils for this dahl but used canned this time with great results. It’s so convenient having ready to use cooked lentils in your pantry and greatly cuts down on prep and cooking time. For a great brand click here.
Turmeric Lentil Dahl
A deeply nourishing, very delicious easy weeknight supper.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white or yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root (peeled and minced) OR 1 teaspoon ground
1 tablespoon fresh turmeric root (peeled and finely chopped) OR 1 teaspoon ground
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried red lentils (washed and picked over for any debris) OR 1, 15oz can of cooked lentils, drained and rinsed
4 cups good quality vegetable stock – or up to 6 if you prefer a very soupy dahl
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoon tomato paste
Fresh mint, and sliced fresh tomatoes for garnish
Heat the olive oil and add the onion, sprinkle over with kosher salt and cook on a medium heat until just turning golden – about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, cook for a further 1-2 minutes – don’t let the garlic burn
Add the ginger, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, cardamon, coriander and cinnamon. Stir well, inhale the aroma – stir again and add the dried red lentils or the drained canned lentils. Stir well to combine.
Add the vegetable stock, bay leaf and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, partially cover the pot and allow to simmer until the lentils are tender. If using canned simmer for about 10 minutes.
Once the lentils are tender, remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Serve with rice, naan bread and garnish with mint and chopped tomatoes.
The dahl will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.