This recipe is one that I can make in about 30 minutes and it involves ingredients that I pretty much always have on hand in my pantry or fridge (don't need anything fresh except some yogurt/sour cream and cilantro for toppings - those are nice but not necessary). It's savory, filling, and very cheap to make. It's from an Indian cooking class I took ages ago when I lived in DC. I can still hear the teacher's beautiful Indian accent as she explained everything to us. While it's Indian, it's not spicy/hot and it's got flavors that most everyone likes.
I like to make the full batch (serves 12) and then use leftovers for lunches or another dinner. The flavor actually improves as it sits in the fridge for a couple days. And it freezes well if you want to make a lot and save some for later.
I read an article about lentils back when I was living with roommates and working in DC and trying to spend very little money on food while trying to eat really healthily. I learned that lentils are chock-full of vitamins and protein and that they have a great meaty sort of texture and flavor. You can even use them in place of hamburger in a recipe. So I got really into lentils back then. And we probably have a recipe with lentils a couple times a month these days.
Anyway, here goes with the recipe:
Dahl (Lentils) with Tomatoes and Onions
1 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion OR 2 small onions, minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root (can use the bottled pre-grated stuff)
1 tbsp minced garlic (can used the bottled, pre-minced stuff)
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp curry powder
2 cups lentils (red, yellow, brown, whatever kind of lentils)
2 28-oz cans of petite diced
4 cups water
2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 fresh green chili, finely chopped (if desired, makes more spicy)
fresh chopped cilantro leaves to garnish
plain yogurt or sour cream as topping
Saute together onions, ginger, and garlic in the oil until limp and slightly browned. Add chili powder and curry powder. Add the lentils and mix together over the heat. Mix in the two cans of tomatoes (including juice - dump in the whole can). Then add the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer for about 25 minutes or until lentils are soft (add a little more water if necessary to keep lentils moist while cooking). Stir in salt. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro and a dollop of yogurt/sour cream. Garnish wtih chopped chilis for more heat. Good over basmati rice.