Lentils are a big deal for us South Asians. To me it's ultimate comfort food and reminds me of my moms home cooking. After having children, I realized one of their favorite things to eat were my moms lentils. It didn't matter what kind, with meat or without, thick or thin...they LOVED it.
As they grow older, they have become more and more vocal about "Nanima's (grandma) food please." And with me now living in the opposite end of the country, and less visits, I had to take my hands on getting "Nanima Lentils" for these boys.
So here is a very easy and simple Lentil recipe to get that childhood comfort of Mama's or Nanima's cooking for a beginner lentil maker like me!
1/2 cup Split Red Lentils
1/2 cup Split Green Lentils
1.5 to 2.5 cups of Water
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Salt (or to taste)
1 Tomato Peeled/Chopped (or 1/2 can of Diced Tomatoes)
1 to two Banana Peppers
5 to 6 Curry Leaves
1 tbsp Crushed Garlic
1 Chicken Bouillon Cube (optional: if not using, up the salt)
-Pre soak the lentils for 10 to 15 mins. in hot water.
-Then add all the Ingredients to a pot with 1.5 cups of water (add more if needed later).
-Bring it to a boil.
-Once brought to a boil, cover halfway and let lentils simmer on med/low heat for about 25 to 30 mins or until lentils are tender.
Tip: Wooden spoon across the top of the pot helps the lentils not spill over.
-Give it a mix half way through and add more water if needed.
-Once lentils are cooked and tender, pull out your green chilies and purée your lentils using a hand mixer. (you don't have to puree if you don't want to)
Flavored Oil/ Bighar:
2 to 3 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter) or Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
3 to 4 Whole Red Chilies
4 Curry Leaves
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
-Fry your whole red chilies and chopped garlic in ghee until garlic is light golden brown.
-Now add your cumin seeds and curry leaves for 30 seconds to a minute and pour over lentils.
-Serve with a side of long grain basmati rice and spicy pickle (achar).
**Red chilies in recipe and flavored oil can be reduced or increased according to your desired spice level.
**If you can't find Curry Leaves (Kari Pata), you can still make without.
Serve this delicious lentil with long grain basmati steamed rice and a side of spicy pickle (achar). Hope you enjoy it as much as my kids and I do!