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I LOVE lentils!

There, I’ve said it. It’s true, I seriously could live on them! Yellow, red, green, brown…doesn’t matter, I LOVE them all!

And now I have a simple standard recipe I make more than once a week – in my new PRESSURE COOKER!

First, the pressure cooker story….

During the day, at work, I sit by a wonderful woman from India who constantly tortures me with the incredible scents of the dishes she brings for lunch. I also sit by another woman who is from China and provides the same level of torture at lunchtime with her tasty delights! On almost a daily basis, as we stand in line in the kitchen at lunchtime preparing our food, we discuss, well…FOOD. And recipes, and flavors and spices and cooking methods.

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Both of these women swear by their pressure cookers!

Because I LOVE gadgets (a curse at times) I have been reading reviews, studying and learning about pressure cookers for a while now – without actually owning one. When the discussion turned to lentils and preparing them in the pressure cooker, well, I knew it was time to get one….but it was the holidays – not exactly a time when you want to buy yourself a gift.

Wouldn’t you know, my good friend Jeanette bought me one for my birthday (she also works with us and has had to listen to all our food and recipe discussions)! YAHOO!!

Here is the one I’m using:

Since that time, I have seriously made this lentil/dahl with veggies recipe if not once, then two or more times a week!! Possibly because anyone who tries it, tends to eat up whatever I have on hand.

spice fun for the tastiest dahl
spice fun for the tastiest dahl

Does that sound boring to you?? Well, never fear, it’s a recipe you can adjust and change to work with whatever vegetables you may have on hand at any time. Good news for me because I truly seem to always have to fudge on recipes because I don’t have exactly what they ask for. This recipe is truly forgiving – leaving out anything will still produce some yummy lentils. (I’ll add other possible additions to the end of the recipe.)

This dish/soup/dahl can serve as a meal in itself or as a side to pretty much anything! Serve simply with bread, put it over rice, eat it straight out of the pot – it’s all good!

As a coincidence, my cousin Kim just asked me via Facebook for a veggie soup recipe – Kimmy, this is for you! I LOVE it and have been asked for this recipe many times (and have finally gotten around to posting).

Again, I make this recipe in my pressure cooker, but I’m sure this recipe can be cooked in a regular pot too – the cooking time will just be longer – give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-4 dried red chilies, broken into pieces (remove the seeds if you’re super sensitive to pepper heat)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger (I keep pieces of ginger in my freezer to have available to grate when I need it)
  • 1 tsp chopped green chilies and/or 1 tsp red chili powder (again adjust for your heat tolerance)
  • 1/4 tsp tumeric
  • 2-3 cups chopped veggies (I tend to lean on the 3 cups – or more – here)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (I’ve found this to be optional)
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups water or vegetable broth

Directions:

1. Put your lentils in a small strainer and rinse them well. If you have time, you can even let them soak for up to 2 hours – I pretty much never have the patience or have ever planned ahead for this, so, trust me, using them right away works fine too.

2. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker. My pressure cooker has a “brown” setting, I use this for this part of the recipe.

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3. Add the mustard and cumin seeds, let them sizzle and pop and then throw in the pieces of dried red chilies. Pause now, to enjoy the scent – it’s heavenly!!

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3. Toss in the onions and cook them until they’re golden brown.

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4. Now, stir in the garlic, ginger, green chilies and/or the red chili powder and tumeric. Again, pause to enjoy the scents!

lvspice25. Add your veggie choices now. Here are mine this time:

I started with celery and carrots
I started with celery and carrots
and noticed I had some cauliflower and asparagus too, so I tossed them in
and noticed I had some cauliflower, yellow bell pepper and asparagus too, so I tossed them in

How can you go wrong with all this veggie yumminess!!

6. Now, stir in your lentils, add the salt and the sugar and 2 1/2 to 3 cups of water or broth – obviously the more water the more “soupie” the dish will be (not a bad thing by the way).

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7. Now it’s time to cook. I set my pressure cooker to cook for 6 minutes after it reaches the 150 pressure.

After I’ve released all the steam, I give everything a stir and, well, dig in if I’m ready to eat right away. If not, I let it sit on “warm” for as long as is needed.

I’ve noticed this “soup” will thicken with time – not a bad thing – actually, quite a yummy thing. If not to your liking though, you can certainly add more water or broth.

ENJOY this bonus – when you make this recipe, your home will smell delicious too!

I’ve made a few other great recipes in my pressure cooker, but by far, this is a standard around here. I’ll be sure to share if I find any other simple treasures.

Again, I use any veggies I have on hand – potatoes are really tasty in this dish also. I’ve also added other spices such as coriander seeds (1/2 tsp) and fennel seeds (1/2 tsp) to see what happens – simply more yummy flavors and delicious smells!

There are a ton of wonderful recipes out there (thank goodness for the internet), here are a few others I love:

Tomato Dahl from Golubka Kitchen

Lentil and Veg Mini Shepherd Pies found on One Green Planet

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad from Smitten Kitchen

Methi Dal from Chef In You (oh my this is yummy!)

Please, let me know if you have any others I need to try…AND any other tasty pressure cooker recipes.

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Lita

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