Red Lentil Dal with Aromatics (Deborah Madison)

1 cup red lentils

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves

1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped

3 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

1-15 oz can unsweetened coconut milk, minus the cream


2 shallots, sliced

1 dried red chile, broken into pieces, or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Wash the lentils in several change of water. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, saute the onion, garlic, and chile in 2 tablespoons of the ghee for 1 minute. Add the tumeric, lentils and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered until the lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Taste for salt and remove from the heat.

Heat the remaining ghee in a small skillet over high heat. Add the shallots, red chile, bay and mustard. Frey until the mustard seeds begin to turn grayish, about 1 minute. Stir this into the lentils, then serve.