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Lentils with Cumin and Asafoetida

1 cup red and yellow split lentils
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
A generous pinch of asafetida
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 to 3 dried hot red chilies

Put the lentils in a heavy pot with 2 1/2 cups water and the
turmeric. Stir and bring to a simmer. (Do not let it boil over.)
Cover, leaving the lid just very slightly ajar, turn the heat to
low, and simmer for 40 minutes, or until tender. Stir a few times
during the cooking. Add the salt and mix. Leave covered over very
low heat.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan over fairly high heat. When hot,
add the Asafoetida, then, a second later, the cumin seeds. Let the
cumin seeds sizzle for a few seconds. Add the chilies. As soon as
they turn dark red, this takes just a few seconds, lift up the lid
of the lentil pot and pour in the contents of the frying pan, oil
as well as the spices. Cover the pot to immediately trap the aromas.
Serve warm.

Yield: 4 servings

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