red lentil dal

un-clutter. simplify. exhale.
relax with a bowl of nourishing lentil dal.
i am going through a stage. 
it's a purge-my-cupboards-counters-closets-stage.
it started the day i opened a cabinet and found two pairs of shoes in the original boxes that i had never worn, and couldn't remember buying. 
i gasped. 
how wasteful.
how indulgent. 
especially since my usual clodhoppers are either flip-flops, kitchen clogs, or running shoes.
later i was dusting some tchotchkes that were void of any meaning. 
just some gewgaws . . . and i thought, "what's the point of a memory-free doodad? it's rather like junk."
that very day, i started carting off boxes and loads of stuff 
to donate. give-away. toss. 
big sigh of relief.
for dinner that night i made a comforting lentil dal that i have made so many times the rose elliot cookbook flops open to the right page. lentil dal is satisfying but not fussy. lots of times i serve it as a sauce, but on my cathartic night of un-hoarding, i served a bowl with brown basmati rice and roasted cauliflower. for added ease, jim and i each ate with a spoon.
red lentils aren't so much red as they are orange. they fade to a deep yellow after stewing into a gilded dal with the texture of raw silk.
this recipe is from my favorite vegetarian cookbook: 
the complete vegetarian cuisine by rose elliot.
• 1 cup red lentils, soaked for 1 hour
• 1 onion, peeled and chopped
• 1 large galic clove, minced
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 whole green chili
• 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
• 1/2 tsp. turmeric
• 2 tsps. each of ground cumin and coriander
• kosher salt
• 1/4 coconut milk / or substitute greek yogurt
• 1 tbl. lemon juice
1. pour the soaking water off of the lentils, and cover them with cold water about 1/2 inch above them. add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, whole chili, ginger and turmeric.
2. cook gently for about 1/2 hour or so, until the lentils are soft. add water if needed to prevent the lentils from sticking. the final mixture should be somewhat smooth, like a purée, but not runny.
3. stir in the cumin, coriander and salt to taste. half-cover the pot and allow it to stand for 30 min. to allow the flavors to blend.
4. discard the bay leaf and chili. add the coconut cream or yogurt.
5. reheat gently before serving.

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