- 3 Tbsp. California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 3 dried red chilies
- Pinch asafetida*, optional
- 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno, cored and seeded if you prefer a milder flavor, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups washed masoor dal or yellow split peas (channa dal)
- 6 cups water
- Juice of ½ lemon
Heat the California Ranch extra virgin olive oil with cumin and chilies in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat for 1 ½ minutes. Add the asafetida (if using) and cook for 20 seconds and then add the onion and jalapeno. Cook for 1 minute, stir in the kosher salt, and cook until the onion and jalapeno have softened, about 3 minutes, stirring often.
Add the garlic and lentils and cook until garlic becomes fragrant, 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Stir in ¼ cup of the water, cook until the pan is dry, then add an additional 5 ¾ cups of water and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
Partially cover and stir every 10 minutes until the lentils are soft and break apart easily, but aren’t completely broken down, 25 to 35 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve with rice.
*Available at Indian groceries and online
Recipe adapted from American Masala: 125 New Classics from My Home Kitchen by Suvir Saran and Raquel Pelzel (Clarkson Potter, 2007)