Friday, October 4, 2013

Dal Bhat (Lentils and Rice)


This summer my daughter was in Nepal for school, and early on in her visit, she told me I should learn how to make Dal Bhat. (Dal bhat, Bengali: ডাল-ভাত refers to a traditional meal which is popular in many areas of Bangladesh, India and Nepal. It consists of steamed rice and a cooked lentil soup called dal. It is a staple food in these countries. Dal refers to the lentils, Bhat means boiled rice.) So I looked at multiple recipes on line and found the common factors and came up with this basic variation. I love the brightness the ginger brings to it, and for anyone who either loves lentils, or wants to know how to cook with them, this is a great recipe. The turmeric is key as well, and has been the spice everyone is talking about right now as an anti-inflammatory. For anyone who has spied the packaged steamed lentils in the Trader Joe's produce section, this is a great way to use those, so I have adjusted the amounts to match the amount for one package of those. Otherwise, you could easily just cook some lentils until just tender, and add about 4 cups of those. They hold up to long cooking and retain their texture and flavor very well. Enjoy!

Dal Bhat

1 package Trader Joe's steamed lentils (in the produce section)
3 Tbl olive oil
1 small onion, diced (about 1 to 1-1/2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
 1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt
4 cups liquid, such as chicken stock, vegetable stock or water (I use half broth and half water)
Steamed rice


Trader Joe's sells plain steamed lentils, easy to use and no added flavors.


1. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and fry onion, garlic and ginger until softened.


Saute until softened, they will continue to cook as the lentils and broth cook.

2. Add rinsed lentils, turmeric and salt and stir to combine.

Stir the lentils to loosen up, they come out of the package a little clumped. 
3. Pour liquid over lentils and cook over a medium-low heat until lentils are soft and the mixture is like a thick soup.

It will be fairly soupy at first, the lentils hold up well if  you simmer them for about 30 minutes or so to reduce the liquid

4. Serve lentils over rice, or as its own soup. Keeps well in the fridge.

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