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Dal Makhani (Creamy, Spiced Black Lentil Stew)

Don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients in this recipe- its mostly spices. I highly recommend taking a trip to an Asian grocer to stock up your pantry with a variety of spices and dried herbs. You will be opening up your culinary repertoire to a wealth of global flavors that will add variety and major YUM-factor to your meals. Buy spices in small quantities, since ground spices only stay fresh for about 6 months, or buy a spice grinder (coffee grinder) to blend up your own for maximum flavor. Dal Makhani (Creamy, Spiced Black Lentil Stew) Yield: 4 one-cup servings Adapted from Lisa Turner's Dal Makhani ¾ cup dried whole urad dal (or black lentils), soaked overnight ¼ cup dried kidney beans, soaked overnight ½ teaspoon turmeric 2-inch piece cinnamon stick 2 black cardamom pods 3 cloves garlic, minced 2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds ¼ teaspoon cayenne 1 teaspoon garam masala Pinch asafetida (optional) 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes Small handful curry leaves (optional, but highly recommended) 1 cup + ¼ cup coconut milk ¼ cup cilantro, chopped Lime

  1. Rinse soaked lentils and beans, transfer to a medium pot, and cover with three cups of water. Add the turmeric, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, 1/3 of the garlic, 1/3 of the ginger, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook covered until beans are tender (about one hour).

  2. While beans are cooking, heat the ghee or coconut oil in a skillet. Add the cumin and fenugreek seeds, stirring for about 30 seconds. Then add the remaining garlic and ginger, cayenne, garam masala, and asafetida, stirring for another 30 seconds. Finally, add the tomatoes, curry leaves, and salt. Simmer for about 5 minutes. The mixture should thicken as the tomato juices reduce.

  3. When the beans are tender, mash briefly with the back of a fork. Transfer the spiced tomato mixture into the pot of lentils and beans, stir to combine, and cook uncovered for another 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and curry leaves. Stir in one cup of the coconut milk and taste for seasoning.

  4. Serve each portion with 1 tablespoon coconut milk drizzled on top, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

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