Red lentils with onions

Red lentils with onions

A very quick, simple lentil dish. It's spicy, but the sugar and the whole shallots give it an unique sweetish taste.

  • 250g red lentils (masoor dal)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 large pinch asafoetida
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 dried red chilies, deseeded and crushed
  • 500g shallots, peeled, but left whole
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt

Rinse the lentils thoroughly and check for stones. Then put them in a pot with twice the amount of water and bring to boil. Remove any froth that forms with a slotted spoon. Boil until the lentils are very soft, but have not disintegrated (approx. 10 minutes). Drain excess water, if any is left.

In a second pot, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the asafoetida, curry leaves, cloves and red chilies. Fry briefly for about one minute, then add the whole shallots. Fry them for several minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the sugar, tamarind, turmeric, salt and 1 cup of water. Let simmer until the shallots have become transparent, stirring occasionally. Most of the water should evaporate in the process (add some more water if necessary).

Add the cooked lentils. Stir well, adjust seasoning if necessary, then serve immediately with chapatis or rice.