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HIMALAYAN LENTIL CURRY

Yuyu taught me how to make Himalayan Lentil Curry. I’ve made several batches since he’s left, and here’s my current rendition of it:

1 bag lentils, soaked overnight
6-8 onions, diced
1 head garlic, diced
2 ” ginger, minced
6-12 chopped tomatoes or mebbe a 15-oz can chopped tomatoes – about 6 cups of tomatoes, I’m guessing
1-2 T turmeric
2-4 T chani dal masala (this is a very hot spice mix)
2 T garam masala *
2 T mustard seeds *
2 T cumin seeds *
3 T coriander seeds
1 t cardamom seeds *
8 cloves *
2 chilies, chopped, with seeds *
1-3 C vegetable oil
1-2 sticks butter
1 can coconut milk
1-2 limes, juice of *
1/2 C goat cheese *

* Items marked with asterisk are not necessary

Roast cumin & mustard seeds in pan 1-2 minutes, until they start to turn aromatic. Roast coriander separately. Grind coriander (can smash with hammer in plastic baggie, or coffee grinder). Or you can use the coriander whole, but ground seems better for texture, especially if there is a lot of it.

The timing seems to work if I chop and cook at the same time. By the time I’m done chopping one ingredient, the mixture is ready for me to incorporate it in.

Chop up the onions. Then start heating 1-3 C oil in big heavy-bottomed pot on medium. While oil is heating, start chopping the garlic. Put seeds in oil for a few minutes. Then add onion and garlic to the oil. Add a little bit of salt (1/2 t?) Fry until onion fairly translucent and aromatic, then set to real low flame.You can spend this time dicing the ginger. Then add ginger, chiles, turmeric, chani dal masala and garam masala. Stir. Put on low heat. Start chopping tomatoes. When halfway through chopping tomatoes, add what you’ve chopped to the oil, set the flame a little higher to like a medium flame, then chop the rest, and then add the rest. Cook down about two minutes, then add lentils and cloves and enough water to cover mixture. Mix well. Bring to a boil, then let simmer on low for about an hour to an hour and a half, covered, stirring every ten minutes or so.

Near the end, add the coconut milk, lime juice, goat cheese and butter, mix in until melted and well incorporated. Smash cardamom seeds and sprinkle on. Add salt to taste. You could set it to simmer for a while until it seems ‘right’.

The end result should be a very fatty, delicious, aromatic, tomato-y stew, somewhat reminiscent of sloppy joe flavor – more dense liquid than lentil.

Serving sizes are very small, about 1/3 C. It’s a very rich food, full of delicious fat. I eat it with pita or rice. I figure there are about 25 servings per pot, at about 50 cents/serving. It’s full of antioxidants and fiber and satisfies your hunger for a good 6 hours.

Lady K

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