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Bengal Red Lentils

1/2 c red lentils
6 hot green chilies
1/2 tsp turmeric
4 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp coarse salt

4 tbs ghee or vegetable oil
1 c minced onion
1 tbs grated ginger
1 c finely chopped tomatoes

2 tbs ghee or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp black onion seeds
4 bay leaves
4 dry red chili pods
2 tsp minced garlic

Wash lentils and boil together with other ingredients from first
list. Stir often to prevent lumping. Cook over medium heat,
partially covered, for 25 minutes. Cover, reduce heat, and cook
an additional 10 minutes. The dal is essentially done at this
point and can be served as is. The next few steps make it a more
special presentation.

While the dal is cooking, heat the ghee in a pan over high heat.
Add the onions and fry, stirring constantly, until brown (about 10
minutes.) Add the ginger and tomatoes and continue frying for
another 8 minutes until the tomatoes are reduced and thick. Stir

Blend the fried onion-tomato paste into the dal and continue cooking
for another 10 minutes. Keep the dal on a low simmer while you
make the spiced butter.

Have the spices in separate piles ready for use. Heat the ghee in
a small pan over medium high heat. When it is hot, add the cumin,
fennel, mustard, and onion seeds. The mustard seeds should be
spattering in about 15 seconds. Add the bay leaves and chili pods
and fry another 15-20 seconds, constantly turning and tossing the
spices. Turn off the heat, add the garlic and let it sizzle for
about 20 seconds. Pour entire contents of the pan into the dal.
Mix and serve.


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