Eggplant Dal

This Indian Lentil Dish Richly Satisfies

Many of us seeking more plant-based dishes are heading into bean country. Lentils offer a meaty-peppery-like satisfaction. Although I look for dishes that have a few ingredients, I took on this because I had all the ingredients. I’m glad I did.

INGREDIENTS: Eggplant peeling is optional; if tough, plan on peeling

  • neutral oil – 1⁄4 cup
  • onion – 1 cup, finely chopped
  • eggplant – 4 cups, [about 1 LB],
  • salt and pepper – 1/2 tsp
  • ghee – 2 TBS, or clarified butter or coconut oil
  • garlic – 1 TBS, minced
  • ginger root – 1 TBS, minced
  • serrano chile – finely chopped [or chile flakes to taste]
  • cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • coriander, ground – 1 tsp
  • tomato – 1 medium, cut into 1⁄4-inch pieces, [or 2 tsp tomato paste]
  • red lentils – 1 cup, rinsed
  • water – 3 cups
  • cilantro – fresh, chopped for garnish
  • Serve with rice

INSTRUCTIONS: Best to use a heavy bottom pot to prevent scorching

Step 1

  1. Heat oil and sauté onion and eggplant with some salt and pepper until softened, about 7-9 minutes; if necessary add a couple TBS water and scrape up the fond; pour out into a bowl
  2. Melt the ghee in the same pot along with the garlic, ginger, chile, cumin, and coriander; being sure to stir constantly for about 30 seconds
  3. Add the tomato and lower heat and cook to caramelize; about 8 minutes
  4. Add back the eggplant mixture, the lentils and 3 cups of water along with additional salt and pepper
  5. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and cover then simmer for about 15 minutes
  6. Taste for final seasoning and adjust if needed

Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice

Recipe adapted from NYT by Kay Chun

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