There are no rules in Indian cuisine. Each home in India has its own secret masala or spice mix, passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter, and each region has its own flavour. I called this “exotic lentils & coconut” because it’s not authentic Indian dal. It’s authentic Toronto in winter lentils over rice with an Indian flare minus the heavy cream and butter. Don’t be afraid! It’s easy-shmeasy.
Exotic Lentils & Coconut
1 cup organic French lentils, rinsed
1 cup organic brown rice or brown basmati
1 can organic coconut milk
1 bay leaf
half a red onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp clove
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
juice of 1 small lime
Cook lentils in 3 to 1 water with a bay leaf. Cook rice separately.
In a cast iron pot, sautee garlic & onions in a little olive oil until they sweat. Add ginger and spices, and stir until a thick paste is formed. You may have to add a tiny splash of water to keep the spices from sticking.
Add coconut milk and stir.
When the lentils are cooked, check that all the water is absorbed. If not, drain off excess water. Add curried coconut milk to the lentils (or the other way around) and mix together. Squeeze in lime juice.
Taste and adjust salt & pepper and seasoning to your liking.
Serve lentils over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.
This is also great served with naan, garlic naan or a flatbread.
And as always, it’s even better the next day. Save some for tomorrow! Now go ice climbing;)