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This is a batch lunch that I made last weekend. It's based off of [personal profile] rushthatspeaks' recipe for chana dal, modified for my own tastes and what I had in the house. Possibly the end result bears little resemblance to the original, but I liked it.

Note: This isn't the easiest recipe in the world only because you have to pay attention to the lentil pot and the caramelizing onions at the same time. I don't recommend it for absolute beginner cooks, unless of course you're highly motivated, in which case go for it. Can easily be made vegan by using oil instead of butter.

2 cups brown or green lentils, rinsed
4-5 cups water (check the back of your package of lentils for guidance if necessary)
2 thin slices of fresh ginger (can sub 1 tsp of powdered ginger, but it won't taste as good)
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garam masala*
1 shallot or medium onion
3 Tbsp butter or mild oil (I used a mix of both)
4 Tbsp tomato paste

*To avoid a trip to the store, I made my own version of this based off of recipes I found online: 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 1.5 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg.

1. Toss lentils, water, ginger, one whole (peeled, natch) garlic clove, and turmeric into a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, lid on but slightly ajar until the lentils are soft but not mushy, about a half hour. You can go read a book while you wait for the lentils to cook. Once they're cooked to your taste, remove the lid and continue cooking. At this point, you're trying to boil off the remaining water, so adjust the heat accordingly.

2. Finely chop onion and cook in butter/oil on low heat, stirring frequently until they turn a nice golden color, about ten to fifteen minutes. Dice remaining clove of garlic and toss in with the onions. Keep stirring. You want the garlic to turn the same color as the onion, about 4 minutes.

3. While you're cooking the onions, keep an eye on your lentils. Once the water is boiled off, remove from the heat. Fish out the ginger. If the garlic clove hasn't disintegrated on its own, press it against the side of the pot with a fork. It will fall apart and you can stir it into the lentils. Add the salt and garam masala.

4. Stir the tomato paste into the onion mixture and cook until warmed through. Then add the tomato/onion mix to the lentils and stir well to combine.

I ate this by itself for lunch last week, but you may want to take pita bread or another carb on the side.
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May 2016

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