There used to be an Indian buffet restaurant around the corner from my office which my co-worker and I would visit from time to time. We’d eaten at this place a handful of times, when it sadly shut down. I used to look forward to visiting this restaurant and of all the selections available, I always gravitated towards two dishes. One of the dishes was a crispy sprouted mung bean salad, I’ve replicated their recipe and I now make it at home, I’ll post the recipe sometime soon. The other dish, as you may have guessed, was the dal makhani (I salivate as I type out the name of this dish).
This meal is out of this world delish in my books. The flavours are so deep and the texture so rich—a perfect blend of yum and spice. I used to walk past all the meat dishes and head straight for this humble lentil dish. I in fact never tasted any of the meat dishes – who needs butter chicken when you have dal makhani at hand?! It was so perfect paired with aromatic basmati rice and a warm piece of naan bread.
I hadn’t had this meal since the restaurant shut down, I decided to make this at home a few months ago. I found a great blog (vegrecipesofindia.com) and based my recipe off of the one on this site. I normally develop recipes myself based on the flavors in a dish, but since the flavors of this meal are complex and unfamiliar to me, I decided to work off someone elses tried and true recipe. I’ve tweaked it a bit, but her recipe is my base. I’ve used different lentils, simplified the recipe and rearranged the timing of some of the ingredients to improve the nutritional content, and of course I’ve added some veggies to enhance nutrition.
I love this dish for so many reasons….
- Namely because it’s absolutely delicious. I truly can’t get enough of this meal!
- Easy to cook. I can whip up this meal and have it on the table within 20 minutes, using a pressure cooker. I normally soak all my legumes overnight prior to cooking but when I’m in a bind, I will prepare lentils without soaking, without experiencing any digestive discomfort. In fact, my mother insists that lentils are the one legume which don’t require soaking.
- This meal is packed with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial herbs and spices, some of which include, turmeric, ginger, garlic and cumin.
- At the core of this meal are lentils, and in my books lentils are a nutrient superstar. They are packed with vitamins and minerals and are low calorie.
- In a cup of cooked lentils you will find folate ( a whopping 90% of DV!), copper (56% of DV), phosphorus (51% of DV), manganese (49% of DV), iron (37% of DV), B1 (28% of DV), B6 (21% of DV)
- Rich in protein. A cup of cooked lentils provide 18 grams of protein.
- High in fibre. A cup of cooked lentils provide 16 grams of fibre, that’s 64% of your DV!
- Have been proven to stabilize blood sugar, improve cardiovascular health and reduce blood pressure
- They are also easy on your digestive system – Of all the legumes, lentils are the easiest to digest
- 1 cup of brown lentils
- ½ cup of French lentils
- 4 cups of filtered or spring water
- 1 medium onion cut into ½ inch cubes
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped or crushed
- 1 inch ginger grated
- 2 cups of crushed tomatoes or 2 ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
- 2 medium zuccini's approx. 3 cups cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 tbsp. sea salt
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil (optional)
- ½ tsp ground cumin seed
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp chilli powder (optional)
- 1 tsp Punjabi garam masala
- Soak lentils overnight
- Discard liquid from soaked lentils and place in a deep pot or pressure cooker.
- Add to the lentils water, onion, garlic, ginger, tomato sauce and zucchini. Setting aside spices, salt and coconut oil.
- Cook in pressure cooker and allow it to whistle for approx. 5 minutes.
- If you're cooking it in a pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and allow it to simmer for approximately 30-40 min or until cooked through. Stir occasionally.
- Once the lentils are cooked, add spices, salt and coconut oil. Mash with a potato masher until some of the beans are crushed
- Serve with brown rice, cauliflower rice or naan and enjoy!