Every Wednesday, I’m featuring one of my favorite recipes from How to Cook Everything Fast. If you cook it, too, I want to see it—tag it on social media with #HTCEFast. And enjoy!
There is no better use for lentils than dal, the stewed, spiced lentil dishes ubiquitous in India. The idea is to cook them long enough so they begin to break apart and become creamy. And these red pulses are not only traditional for the soupy dals (which are often used like sauces), but they also soften in minutes. Toasted cauliflower adds another layer of texture. To easily expand the meal, serve with rice, bread, or steamed greens.
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1 inch fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
3 cups coconut milk (two 15-ounce cans)
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 large head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
Prep | Cook
1. Put 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Trim, peel, and chop the onion.
2. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.
Peel the garlic clove and 1 inch ginger; mince them together.
3. When the onion softens, add the garlic and ginger and 1 tablespoon curry powder. Cook, stirring until they’re fragrant, a minute or 2.
4. Add 3 cups coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1 1/2 cups red lentils. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily. Partially cover and cook, adding more water if the mixture gets too dry, until the lentils are tender and begin to break down and become saucy, 25 to 30 minutes.
5. Turn the broiler to high; put the rack 6 inches from the heat.
Trim and chop the cauliflower into small pieces (roughly 1/2 inch, but you don’t need to be exact).
6. Put the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet, toss with 3 tablespoons oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and spread it out in an even layer.
7. Broil, undisturbed, until the cauliflower is tender and nicely browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.
Trim and chop the scallions.
8. When the lentils are tender and beginning to break down, stir them vigorously with a spoon for a minute. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and divide them among 4 bowls. Spoon the cauliflower on top of the lentils, garnish with the scallions, and serve immediately.
Photo by Daniel Meyer