During a recent visit to Rainbow grocery in SF, I picked up some beluga lentils. These tiny, black lentils cook quickly and dont loose shape. I had eaten beluga lentils before, but never cooked them myself. My fail-safe way of trying out any new variety of dal or any new type of green leaves is to cook them together – like a spinach-dal. When served on a bed of quinoa, it makes for a highly satisfying and nutritionally balanced meal.
Once the lentils are cooked, this dish comes together in 15 minutes. There used to be a time when every greens ‘n’ dal I would make would comprise of onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and tons of dry spices, with the same formula used over and over again. But lately, I’ve come to realize that omitting a bunch of these ingredients and simplifying the process leads to a highly flavorful and vibrantly green entree.
Ingredients (measurements are very flexible)
- Chopped Spinach, frozen – 1 1lb. packet (of course you can use fresh)
- Tomato – 1, medium sized, chopped (~ ½ cup)
- Green chilies – 1, minced (I used a super-sized serrano chilie)
- Fresh Red chilies – 2, minced (optional)
- Ginger-garlic paste – 2T
- Beluga Lentils – ¾ cup
- Salt – to taste
- Oil – 1T
- Asafetida – A pinch
- Cook/pressure cook beluga lentils in sufficient water to cover it.
- Heat oil in a pot and oil is hot, add ginger-garlic paste; stir it around.
- Add asafetida, minced chilies and tomatoes; stir and let cook in medium heat.
- Add spinach and about ½ cup of water and cook for about 5-7 minutes, until spinach is soft and mixture is bubbling.
- Add beluga lentils and salt to taste and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Serve hot with quinoa or rice.