Lentils are great for a side dish. They are low in fat and high in protein and fiber. A wide variety of split lentils, called dal (or daal, or dhal) are available in the markets in India. There was always some dal cooked at home and I had it with every homemade meal there.
This dish is really tasty and doesn't take much work to make it. I used French green whole lentils for it. These lentils take longer to cook, but they hold their shape and are very delicate.
For 2-3 servings, you will need*:
~3 handfuls of French green lentils (or whole masoor)
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric (ciberzole) powder
coriander (kalendra) for garnish
Wash and then soak lentils for at least couple of hours. Put them into a pot, add enough water to cover the lentils and about half index finger on the top. You can add more water later if it all evaporates away before lentils are done.
Bring it to a boil. Add some salt and the turmeric powder, stir it and let it cook over a medium flame for about an hour or until lentils become soft. Stir it every 15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the onion, garlic, ginger and tomato.
When lentils become soft, heat some oil/ghee and fry the garlic and ginger for couple minutes. Next, add the onions and fry them till they are translucent. Lastly, add the tomatoes, garam masala and chili powder, mix well and fry till aromatic.