not your typical Indian Dhal
Last March on my yoga & ayurveda retreat in New Mexico, the chef who prepared our amazing Ayurvedic meals made a cilantro, jalapeño dhal that I completely went crazy for. I prepare a fair amount of dhal, usually with standard Ayurvedic/Indian spices (cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric, etc). This dhal was delicious and had such a fresh flavor, I was smitten. I wasn't able to get a recipe from her, so I went searching on my own. I found a recipe on Whole Foods Market that seemed pretty close, and low and behold, it was!
The red lentils are a great source of protein (18g per cup) and are pacifying to Pitta and Kapha. They are light and soft, and easily digestible. This recipe warms things up a bit with the addition of a little tomato and jalapeño, and is a nice early fall recipe when tomatoes are finishing their season. I have not found this recipe to aggravate vata. The cilantro keeps the recipe from being too heating.
I've adapted this recipe and it's now one of my standards. Hardly a week goes by that I don't make a batch. I often make this in my slow cooker, which has a sauté setting which I use on the onions and garlic at the beginning.
Cilantro Jalapeño Dhal
2 cups red lentils (Masoor Dhal), sorted and rinsed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or ghee
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 chopped tomatoes, with their juice
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 cups vegetable broth or 4 cups water + 1 cube vegetable bouillon
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, cardamom, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add lentils, broth, tomatoes, turmeric, salt and jalapeño and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, add cilantro and cover and simmer, stirring often, until lentils are soft, about 15 minutes.
Ladle into bowls over basmati rice and serve topped with fresh chopped cilantro. Enjoy!