Dal is a dried pulse (lentil, pea, or other type of bean) that has been split. The word dal is also used to name the thick stew made from these pulses. Dal is an important part of Indian cuisine and boasts an impressive nutritional profile. It is typically around 25% protein by weight, giving it a similar protein content to meat. It is also rich in the B vitamins thiamine and folic acid, as well as iron and zinc.
In addition to nutrients, this dish has an incredible flavor profile! The warm spices are balanced nicely with the cool cilantro yogurt and the fresh citrus adds just the right amount of acidity to round out the flavors. I show this dal being served two ways – with Basmati rice or with quinoa – they are both very good, so feel free to use whatever grain you like. This dish is simple, yet has that quality of drawing you back in for another bite and another and another…it is so delicious!
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 to 1 tsp. chili powder (depending on how much heat you want)
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 cups dried red lentils
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice or lime juice
1 cup basmati rice (or quinoa)
1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for serving
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, curry powder, chili powder, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add in a bit of water, if needed, to prevent vegetables from sticking.
Add the lentils and 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are very tender 12 to 16 minutes. Stir in the lemon or lime juice.
Meanwhile, cook the rice (or quinoa) according to the package directions.
Combine the coconut yogurt, cilantro, and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Serve the lentils over the rice, topped with the cilantro yogurt and additional cilantro leaves. Serve with lemon or lime wedges.