Ghetto Lunch

>> Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I made these lentils last night, and they just didn't turn out the way I expected. So this morning I was in a hurry and kind of irritated that I had made a Food Network recipe -again- that just didn't work and just not in the mood to waste any love on this crappy lunch.

Behold! The Ghetto Lunch

Inside the exclusive new WHITE Walmart bag I packed

1. Ikea container with leftover lentils
2. small bowl of yogurt with roasted chili, cleverly covered with cling wrap
3. Fresh & Easy garlic naan straight from the bag
4. a bowl

Three minutes in the microwave and this is what I had.

Guess what? You know how sometimes things taste better the next day? Well this is one of them. Only not like just a little, it was way better. Better enough that I might even make it again.

Mum's Everyday Red Lentils

Recipe courtesy Aarti Sequeira, 2010

Lentils (Dal):

* 1 cup masoor dal red lentils, picked through for stones
* 2 cups water
* 1 onion, diced
* 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
* 1 (1/2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
* 2 medium tomatoes, diced
* 1 serrano chile, sliced in 1/2, optional

Tempering oil (bagaar):

* 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
* 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
* Generous 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika or bafaat powder
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* Handful chopped fresh cilantro leaves


Put the lentils in a strainer and rinse them under running water. Add them to a bowl, cover with water and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of water, the onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, chile, if using, and the lentils. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim any scum from the surface. DO NOT ADD SALT YET; it will toughen the lentils, thereby lengthening their cooking time. Lower the heat, cover the pot with a lid and gently simmer until the lentils are tender, almost translucent, and almost falling apart, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Whisk the lentils, releasing its natural starch, and mash some them so the mixture becomes thick. Add salt, to taste.

Tempering oil (bagaar): In a small bowl, combine the cumin and mustard seeds. In another bowl, combine the spice powders. Have all the ingredients ready because this will move very fast!

In a small skillet, over a medium-high flame, warm 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add seeds and immediately cover so you don't get covered in spluttering oil and seeds! Add the spices. They should sizzle and bubble a little - that's the blooming and it's exactly what you want. Don't let them burn. The mixture should bloom for about 30 seconds, no more.

Pour the oil mixture into the lentils, standing back so you don't get hurt when the mixture splutters again. Stir to combine. Transfer the lentils to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro.

I followed it pretty closely except I doubled the quantities, optimistic I know. Also I cooked the onions first until soft and brown, then added the garlic and ginger and then when the garlic was soft added the tomato and lentils. Also I used ghee instead of vegetable oil. Oh, I also added about 1/4 teaspoon of super hot cayenne powder to the spice mix at the end to up the heat a bit. And a little garam masala at the end. What the heck is bafaat powder anyway? I asked Twitter and was ignored. I wish I had more Twitter friends. Will you be my Twitter friend?

OMG. I've just realized I'm one of those people that complain about how dreadful a recipe is and then reveal that they substituted hot dogs for walnuts and agave syrup for the sugar and halved the butter and added some vinegar but just can't understand what went wrong and why the cookies just didn't turn out the way they should have AND one of those people that beg other people to be their friend AND one of those people that write really long run-on sentences. I pretty much hate me right now.


Julie October 13, 2010 at 4:05 PM  

I wish I had known you could substitute hot dogs for walnuts, and where can I get a cool lunch bag like that?

Libby October 13, 2010 at 8:57 PM  

Heh. I saw a list of types annoying recipe submitters (or something like that) and I was THE allergy recipe person. Hopefully whoever made the list never has to try to bake a child's birthday cake without eggs, milk, nuts and maybe wheat. Then they'll like me just fine!

bentobird October 15, 2010 at 6:13 PM  

Yum, love lentils in any format! Loved this entertaining and funny post...good weekend :D!

Brandy October 22, 2010 at 6:56 AM  

That's a ghetto lunch? Who knew I had a ghetto lunch all this time?! LOL!

BTW, I'm now a twitter follower. :)


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