There are days when I crave hot spiciness. Not the kind that makes you feel like a fire just ignited in your mouth (although I’ve got my days when I love that fire too), but the kind that makes you feel warm from your belly out. That fills the house with flavor and makes you sigh contentedly. I was craving exactly that yesterday, so I made Dhal.
This is a recipe that my mom used to make when I was a kid and every time I make it, it stirs up wonderful memories. To this day it brings me the same amount of comfort as it used to when I would walk through the door after an afternoon of playing outside and smell the aromas filling the house: a mixture of onions, ginger, and faraway spices.
She often served it with hot chapattis, fresh from the stovetop. I have been known to serve it with injera; the spongy texture soaks up the dhal perfectly and the slightly fermented taste of the teff is a perfect balance to the sweetness of the onions and the spice of the ginger and turmeric.
But last night I decided to go simple. I wanted to sit on the couch with a hot bowl of spicy comfort in my hands and nothing else. And that’s exactly what I did. I ate, cozy and curled up, with a smile on my face and warmth in my belly.
Dhal with Ginger and Onions
2 tbsps olive oil
2 large onions, diced
5 large cloves garlic, pressed or chopped finely
1/2 inch ginger, chopped finely
1 tbsp turmeric
1 heaping tbsp curry powder*
2 cups washed lentils
6 cups water
3 tsp gluten-free vegetable bouillon, or 1 1/2 tsp salt
*I usually use hot or mild curry powder here, but I ran out last night so I used red curry paste. It works too, but I would recommend curry powder.
Sauté the onions, ginger, and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add turmeric and cook one more minute, stirring. Add drained lentils and cook two more minutes. Add 6 cups water and bring to boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add curry powder, salt or bouillon, and cook 20 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve with a side of chapatti, or injera, or by its plain old self.