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Red Lentils with Curry Leaves

Ingredients:
1 cup masoor dal (red lentils)
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teasoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 dried red pepper
1 green hot pepper (serrano or jalapeno), seeded and cut into quarters
10 or 12 curry leaves

Directions:
Rinse the lentils well and discard any foreign objects. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a low simmer. After about 5 minutes add turmeric, cumin, ginger and garam masala. Cook until lentils are tender, about another 10 or 15 minutes. Drain any excess water if you want your lentils less soupy.

Heat the ghee in a small frying pan. Add the mustard seed and cook until they pop. (Cover the pan briefly so they don't escape.) Break the dried pepper into pieces and add it, the green hot pepper and the curry leaves to the pan. Cook for about two minutes, then pour the entire contents into the saucepan of lentils. Stir and adjust seasonings to taste.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Reprinted from A Cook's Guide to Chicago, Second Edition, by Marilyn Pocius

A Cook's Guide to Chicago, Lake Claremont Press, ©2006