July 24, 2014
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WNY Woman

Sour Lentils Flavored with Garlic

The holiday season is a special time of year when many people choose to spend time with the people they love the most. Gatherings of friends and family occur throughout the holiday season. These gatherings might surround a specific holiday, but even those people with a religious affiliation use the holidays as an opportunity to reconnect with those closest to them.

One of the more common holiday traditions is to break bread with family and friends. A relaxing night at the dinner table over a big meal makes the perfect opportunity to reconnect with loved ones. Dinner party hosts, however, often don't have it so easy, especially if some guests have dietary restrictions or alternative diets, such as vegetarians. Hosts facing the task of feeding a vegetarian friend or family member this holiday season should consider the following recipe for "Sour Lentils Flavored With Garlic" from Monisha Bharadwaj's "India's Vegetarian Cooking" (Kyle Books).

Sour Lentils Flavored With Garlic
Serves 4

11/2 cups yellow split lentils (toor dal), washed and drained
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons ghee or sunflower oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Large pinch of asafetida
3 dried red chiles, broken in half
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Chopped cilantro for garnishing

1. Put the lentils and turmeric along with 3 cups of hot water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes until the lentils are soft. If they dry out during the cooking, add a little more water until you get a mushy consistency.

2. Add the tamarind and salt and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Heat the ghee or oil in a small saucepan and add the cumin seeds and asafetida. When the cumin turns dark, add the red chiles and garlic. Fry over a low heat until the garlic is golden brown. Garlic burns easily so quickly pour this mixture over the dal.

4. Serve hot, garnished with cilantro.

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