1 C. red lentils, picked over, rinsed, and drained
3 C. water
1 large tomato, cut into 8 wedges (or 8 oz. diced canned tomato)
1/4 C. canola oil
1/2 t. cumin seeds
1 medium onion (yellow or red), finely chopped
5 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 t. ground coriander
3/4 t. ground turmeric
1/2 t. cayenne
1 T. butter or Earth Balance (vegan non-hydrogenated margarine)
3/4 t. salt
1/4 C. minced cilantro leaves (optional - I hate cilantro, but I included this for cilantro fans. You can also substitute parsley)
How to make it
Place lentils, tomato (if using fresh tomato) and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until lentils are tender and have lost their shape, about 40 minutes (begin checking that there is still water in the pot at 30 minutes and add small batches of water as needed).
Pick out any tomato skins and whisk dal to emulsify it. Keep warm over low heat.
Make the tadka (Indian spice preparation) as follows:
Heat oil in a medium skillet over high heat.
When oil begins to smoke, add cumin seeds.
After seeds have stopped sputtering, add the garlic and onion and saute over medium heat until most of the onion has turned dark brown, 5-10 minutes.
Add the coriander, turmeric, and cayenne, stir, and pour the onion/spice mixture over the dal.
Add the butter/margarine, tomato (if using canned), (cilantro/parsley), and salt to the dal and simmer for another 5 minutes.