Note: For a one-dish meal, add mixed vegetables and chopped spinach toward the end of the lentil cooking time. Serve with rice and a dollop of plain yogurt to mellow the spices.
1 cup channa dhal (lentils) or yellow split peas
4 cups water
1 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon powdered fennel, optional
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon chile powder, optional
1 to 2 tablespoons ghee, olive oil, canola oil or a mixture, but ghee is the best
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion or 3 shallots, chopped
1. In a saucepan, combine the first 7 ingredients; bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 45 to 50 minutes until the dahl or yellow split peas are soft. (This dish can be made in the slow cooker instead, with the water reduced to 3 cups.)
2. Mash about a third of the mixture, using the back of a large spoon. Season to taste with salt.
3. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil; add diced onion and salt to taste. Fry onions until light brown, about 7 to 9 minutes. Add cumin seeds; fry for another minute
4. Add onion mixture to dhal; simmer for 5 minutes. Correct seasoning and serve.
-- Simran Singh and Stacie Dong, A Little Yumminess blog