This hearty meal takes flavor inspiration from Indian masoor dal, spiced and creamy red lentils. Here, eggplant pairs with the fragrant spices of dal and brings a silky texture to the final dish. Cumin seeds, coriander, garlic, ginger and fresh chiles are bloomed in ghee to release their fragrant aromas as they toast before they’re simmered with lentils and eggplant to form a rich, perfumed stew.
- Serves: 4 persons
- ¼cup neutral oil, such as safflower or canola
- 1cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1large eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
- Salt and black pepper
- 2tablespoons ghee
- 1tablespoon minced garlic
- 1tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1red or green serrano chile, finely chopped
- 2teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1teaspoon ground coriander
- 1medium tomato, cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 1cup red lentils, rinsed
- Chopped cilantro and basmati rice or naan, for serving
Step 1In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium. Add onion and eggplant, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is softened and starting to break down, about 8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water and stir up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Cook until all of the water is absorbed, then transfer eggplant mixture to a bowl.
Step 2Melt ghee in the pot over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, chile, cumin seeds and coriander, and stir constantly until fragrant (be careful not to burn), about 30 seconds. Add tomato and cook, stirring occasionally, until completely broken down and lightly caramelized, about 8 minutes. Stir in eggplant mixture.
Step 3Add lentils and 3 cups water to the pot, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils are tender and mixture is thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 4Divide dal among bowls and garnish with cilantro. Serve with rice or naan.