Classic Indian Dhal

Classic Indian Dhal

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Well, I’m venturing on a side track to bring you this new recipe. It’s not Paleo but it’s still one of my favorite dishes. The Paleolithic diet doesn’t approve of legumes, saying they’re high in phytic acid and Lectin, which damage the small intestine and prohibit proper nutrient uptake. Though, I’ve read mixed opinions on that and I honestly think that’s kind of dumb. Unless you’re actually allergic to legumes (it’s 2nd most common food allergy), then that’s a different story. This is definitely a clean eating recipe, though. And it’s low in fat, salt, and calories. I calculated this recipe at 197 calories a serving. Add a nice salad or veggie and some brown rice, you’re still under 500 calories for a hearty dinner! And it’s cheap! I can get a whole pound of lentils for $.88 at my local natural foods grocery store. 

Dhal is a popular Indian dish. I make lots of Indian recipes. It’s probably my favorite ethnic food. This recipe is super easy and quick to make. And cheap. WAY cheap. Probably won’t get much cheaper than this recipe! A 1 lb bag of lentils at Walmart is $1.25 here. Though I can get them way cheaper than that when they go on sale at Sprouts. They’ll go $.88 a lb there a couple times a year. Feel free to substitute split peas instead. They taste the same to me. I used red lentils this time but green lentils are fine too! Your dhal won’t taste any different. 

I love the smell of garlic and onions cooking. It’s probably the Italian in me that says it’s the best food combination ever created! My best friend growing up hated onions! I still don’t think she loves them. I never understood that. But then again, she would probably say the same thing about my aversion to mushrooms. We would always trade when we were little. I’d eat her onions and she would eat my mushrooms. Ok, maybe we still do that!

I don’t think Dhal is very pretty by itself. It actually took me a little while to figure out how to make it look appealing for pictures 🙂 I rummaged through my cabinets a bit to find a pretty bowl. This bowl I bought in Cozumel last spring break! This is the first time I’ve used it. Nice, huh?

Indian Dhal
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  1. 1 onion, diced
  2. 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  3. 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  4. 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  5. 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  6. 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional, I don't think this adds a lot to the recipe)
  7. 2 T olive oil
  8. 1 cup dried lentils
  9. 3 cups hot water
  10. 1 tsp salt
  1. Fry onion and spices in olive oil until golden brown. Add lentils, water, and salt. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender (about 30 minutes). Remove cover and simmer another 20 minutes until lentils are mushy, like the consistency of refried beans. If you'd like, use an immersion blender to puree to smooth into a sauce. Garnish with onions or lemon juice. Serve hot over rice.
Frugal n Fit