• 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 to 2.5 cups water (depends on desired texture)
  • 1 or 2 serrano peppers
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • teaspoon kalonji
  • 1 teaspoon oil or clarified butter
  • salt to taste


Wash the lentils. Add the water, bring to a gentle boil. Some scum will develop, from lentil dust, and surfactants in the lentils. Skim it off. Add the turmeric powder. (Doing this before the scum is removed causes the turmeric to float up with the scum, and it is then lost. If you do not skim the scum off you will have problems with the mixture boiling over.) Do not postpone adding the turmeric too long. Undercooked turmeric is not nice.

Pierce the sides of the peppers (or slit them), and drop them in. Boil gently, almost covered, till the lentils are comletely cooked. If necessary, add some water along the way. The end product should be fairly fluid. Remove the peppers, homogenize the mixture with a hand mixer, drop the peppers back in.

Make the tarka: Heat the oil, preferably in a wok, which makes it easy to deal with the very small quantity of oil. Add the kalonji. As soon as it stops sizzling, add the cooked lentils rapidly. You may want to let the oil cool briefly, so that splattering is avoided. Salt to taste (0.5 to 1 tsp), mix, simmer briefly, serve.

Basic, Healthy, Low Fat, Side Dishes, Vegetable, Vegetarian
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