Sunday, January 8, 2012
I've been on an Indian food kick recently.
Since I'm super broke right now, the great thing about my recent obsession is that a lot of delicious Indian dishes are cheap to make. Like, really cheap to make. And some, like Dal Nirvana, are ridiculously cheap to make. This recipe cost me $2.28 for six servings, or 38 cents per serving. Add in a cup of rice per person, and that brings the total up to 58 cents per person. This awesomeness is totally making its way into my lunch rotation.
"Dal" is an Indian word for lentils, and this recipe hails from an Indian restaurant, called Nirvana, in California. The basic ingredients are lentils, tomatoes, spices and a little cream, which is simmered until it creates a tender, creamy dish that is perfect for serving with naan or rice. I have no idea if this is anywhere near an "authentic" Indian recipe, but it's pretty yum, and simple to make.
What's even more great is that each serving of this recipe (not including rice) packs a little less than 170 calories, 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.
So, let's review.
Cheap. Easy. Healthy. Yum.
Dal Nirvana (via Budget Bytes)
Serves four to six
1 c. dry green lentils
1 15 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes (I'd recommend crushed, but either works great)
2 cloves garlic (I used 3 tsp. minced garlic, from a jar)
1 inch fresh ginger, grated (I cheated, and used 1/4 tsp. ginger spice. Use more to taste.)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (I would suggest starting with half a tsp. and adding more to taste during the simmering process. It's pretty spicy!)
3 tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. cream
Add lentils to large pot and cover with a few inches of water. Bring to a boil and let cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the lentils.
While the lentils are boiling, mince the garlic and peel and grate the ginger.
Return the drained lentils to the pot (medium heat), and mash some of them against the side of the pot so they open. Add the butter, ginger, garlic, cayenne, and a healthy dose of salt and pepper.
Add the can of tomatoes and one cup of water. Stir it all together, bring it to a simmer then reduce the heat to low. Put a lid on the pot and let it simmer for about 40 minutes. When it's finished, the mixture will be soft and thick. If it's not, continue to simmer (I took the lid off), and add more water if the mixture dries out. The end product should be thick, not watery.
Stir in the cream, check for seasoning, and if desired, garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro. Serve over rice or with naan bread for dipping.