1 cinnamon stick, 5-7.5cm long
1 bay leaf
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 slices fresh, peeled ginger, 3mm thick, and about 2.5cm in diameter
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
a pinch ground asafetida or tiny lump asafetida
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
This recipe is for dry lentils as bought in a supermarket.
Serve the lentils with rice or any Indian bread.
A meat, chicken, or fish dish and a vegetable would complete the meal.
the essential madhur jaffrey
Wash the lentils. Drain.
In a 3.4 litre heavy-bottomed pot, combine the lentils, 1.4 litres water, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, garlic cloves, ginger slices and turmeric.
Bring to the boil.
Cover, lower heat, and simmer gently until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Slice lemon into 5 or 6 rounds. Remove seeds.
Lift cover of pot and put in the lemon slices, salt, black pepper and cayenne.
Stir, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Just before serving, heat the vegetable oil in a 10-15cm frying-pan over medium-high heat.
When very hot put in the asafetida and the cumin seeds.
As soon as the asafetida begins to sizzle and expand, and the cumin seeds darken, pour the contents of frying-pan over the lentils and stir.