Golden Red Lentil Dal with Cilantro Speckled Basmati

This dish is truly a family favourite. It is simple and yet completely satisfying. As with any dish, the fresher the spices the more powerful the flavour. And, if you crave heat, you can totally increase the heat by adding a hot curry powder or more cayenne powder. To speed up the process a bit I used a can of lentils instead of dried lentils. It cut the cooking time by about 10 minutes.  The lentils keep their shape and flavour. I also didn’t add the sugar and didn’t find it felt like anything was missing. I guess it’s a matter of personal choice. I was excited to try the cilantro speckled basmati rice but we have an anti-cilantro family member so plain basmati it was for us. I have been eating the leftovers for two days and as Angela Liddon says the, “leftovers only get better the next day.” This is yummy served with a piece of naan on the side.

With thanks to Angela Liddon of ohsheglows.com

Serves 4     Prep Time: 20 minutes     Cook Time: 25 Minutes

vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

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Ingredients:
for the curry:
2 Tbsp virgin coconut oil or grapeseed oil
1 1/2 cups diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
3 large or 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 cups peeled and finely diced carrots (about 2-3 large)*
2 tsp curry powder, or to taste**
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
1 (14oz/398ml) can light coconut milk
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, plus more if desired to thin broth
1/2 to 1 tsp fine sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper. to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
1 tsp cane sugar (optional)
1 (5oz) package baby spinach
for the rice:
1 cup dry basmati rice
1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil or vegan butter
1 3/4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, or as needed
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, large stems removed and finely chopped ***
Fine sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Squeeze of fresh lime juice, to taste
suggested toppings:
Green onions, thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Toasted  pepita seeds (shelled pumpkin seeds)
Squeeze of lime juice (optional)
  1. For the curry: Add the oil in a large pot and increase heat to medium. Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Sauté  over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally , until softened.
  2. Stir in the ginger and carrots, and continue sautéing for another few minutes over medium heat.
  3. Add the curry powder, cumin, and turmeric. Stir well. Cook for a minute, until fragrant.
  4. Pick over and rinse the lentils in a fine mesh sieve. Stir in the entire can of coconut milk, red lentils, broth and salt. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered with the lid ajar, for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils and carrots are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent to lentils from sticking to the bottom. Stir in a touch more broth if you’d like a slightly thinner consistency. After cooking, stir in all of the spinach until wilted, if desired.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Add the rice into a medium pot along with the oil and broth. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid, and cook for 12 to 16 minutes, until the rice is soft and tender. Fluff with a fork and stir in the cilantro. Season to taste with salt and lime juice. Keep the lid on until ready to serve.
  6. Add a generous scoop of rice on a plate or bowl and top with a couple of ladelfuls of curry. Add your desired toppings and serve immediately. Leftovers will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 to 6 days. The curry can also be frozen for up to 4 weeks, possibly longer. For easy freezer storage, add the cooled curry into a freezer-safe bag, press out the air, and freeze on a flat surface. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or simply leave on the counter until mostly thawed.

Angela’s Tips:

*The smaller you dice the carrots, the faster they cook! Angela opts for thinly sliced carrots here to hasten cook time.

**Be sure to use a good-quality curry powder (one you enjoy the taste of) as a poor-tasting one can throw the flavours off. Angela recommends her favourite Simply Organic curry powder.

***Not a cilantro fan? Simply leave it out and prepare the rice without it. No biggie!

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