I love to curl up with a steaming bowl of daal--it is such a comfort food! You take lentils and add in the numerous health benefits from ginger, peppers, cilantro and turmeric, and you have a meal that is packed full of protein, excellent for your heart and nourishes your brain. Lentils are chock full of protein and cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber and have twice as much iron as other legumes. They are high in most B vitamins, including folate, which is especially important for women of childbearing age because folate reduces the risk of birth defects. Another important upshot of lentils is that they are cheap, cheap, cheap! Plus, they can be stored for a long period of time and are easy to make.
Now, you may remember from a previous post what I said about using whey for soaking grains and legumes. Nutritionists mean well when they say to eat a diet rich in whole grains. However, phytic acid found in grains and legumes combines with vital minerals and leads to mineral deficiencies, bone loss and digestive pain and complications. Soaking the grains or legumes in warm water and whey begins to break down and neutralize the phytic acid, so the negative consequence of phytic acid can be avoided.
I have a picture to the left of a paste I made that I keep on hand when I am making daal and other spi cy dishes. You can make it yourself by blending a ratio of 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 2 teaspoons minced garlic and 1 teaspoon chili paste, along with a little oil if needed. Depending on where you are located, you may be able to buy this mixture at your local grocery store. Try to purchase a product that has as few preservatives as possible. Not only will the product be healthier, but it should taste cleaner (not bitter or sour).
1 1/2 cup red lentils (if this is your first time using red lentils, please note that they look orange)
warm filtered water
2 tablespoons whey (this is a great time to use the whey you made!) or lemon juice (if you don't have whey)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup ghee or organic unsalted butter
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon ginger, garlic, chili paste
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cover lentils with water and mix in whey or lemon juice. Let this sit for about 7-9 hours in a warm place.
After they have soaked, drain and rinse the lentils and put them in a pot. Add water until there is about an inch of water covering the lentils. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the top (your stomach will thank you). Add the turmeric and garlic, ginger, chili paste and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and beat with a whisk until the soup is thick and creamy. Fold in cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Top with a bit of your homemade yogurt if you would like!
Copyright Nutrition as Nature Intended 2009 at nutritionasnatureintended.blogspot.com