My favorite recipes to post aren’t the special dinner party kind, or the “this was really healthy of me today – maybe I’ll do Chinese takeout tomorrow then” kind. They are the awesomely delicious, easy, and cheap things you can make any day.
This recipe is my old faithful. My main squeeze. My ball and chain. I make it all the time, recommend it to everyone, and the love hasn’t faded. It’s comfortable and cozy and still interesting. And once you get the hang of it, making a big pot of this golden deliciousness is super easy on a Sunday night.
Yeah, they’re lentils, so maybe you’re thinking, “her?” I know, I know. First of all, they’re yellow split peas, which is actually a little higher maintenance but totally worth it. Second, this recipe will surprise you. All I can say is just try it. The slow cooked onions with lots and lots of spices, with simmered tomatoes mixed in and finished with a nice pat of butter – sounds good, but somehow it all comes together as more than you would expect. Make double the recipe and freeze it!
Everyday yellow dal
From the one, the only, Smitten Kitchen
1 cup yellow split peas, soaked in cold water for 1 hour (if you’re in a pinch, you can use red lentils – they turn yellow when they cook and don’t need to soak – but use less water).
1 large tomato (about 8 ounces), chopped, or canned diced tomatoes
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
5 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, finely ground
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne (I use 1/4 usually.)
minced cilantro – optional
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
Instructions: Drain the dal (split peas) and place in a large saucepan. Add the tomato and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until peas are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Pick out any tomato skins and whisk dal to emulsify it. Keep warm over very low heat.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the cumin seeds, covering the pan with a lid or splatter screen. After the seeds have stopped sputtering, add the onion and saute over medium heat. About 3 minutes later, add the garlic and saute until most of the onion has turned dark brown, about 5 minutes altogether. Add the coriander, turmeric and cayenne, stir and pour mixture over the dal. Add the butter and salt to the dal and simmer for another 5 minutes. Finish with cilantro. Serve over white or brown rice.