I realize the risk I am taking in calling my most likely inauthentic Indian dish by its authentically Indian name, but what can I say -- I need to get my thrills somehow, and a bungee jump wasn't in the cards on a Tuesday night.
Anyway, I am currently experiencing a glut of lentils due to some unfortunate over-purchasing, and, it being cold and miserable outside (i.e. England), I crave warming spices. A curry of red split lentils, with bright turmeric, bold coriander, and the other usual suspects would just about do the trick. I also love coconut milk, and love the blocks of creamed coconut which I can just keep in the fridge and shave off little pieces here and there whenever I need a little bit. Cans of coconut milk are just too restricting. For those who have yet to experience coconut in this medium, this is what I'm talking about. I threw in some carrots because they seem to be multiplying like rabbits in my veg box, always delivered faster than I can eat them.
I took this to work on top of some leftover rice and a few stray cherry tomatoes. The result: a golden, creamy, remedy for seasonal affective disorder -- sunshine in a bowl.
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 fat clove garlic, minced
1 inch knob fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1 medium carrot, cut into small pieces
1 C. red split lentils
3 C. water, plus more if the dal dries out while cooking
1 inch slice of creamed coconut, or approx. 1/3 C. coconut milk
In a medium saucepan, cook the onions until soft. Add garlic and ginger, and cook another minute until soft. Add spices and cook for a minute or two until they become fragrant.
Add lentils, carrots, water and coconut and cook for 20-30 minutes until the lentils become soft and almost melt into a thick liquid.