Red Split Lentils With Cabbage

by Valerie on March 4, 2009 · 4 comments

In addition to the usual WCW theme, including my sending you to its home over at Shan’s Tale of the Fairy Blogmother, today’s recipe is my submission to Foodalogue’s virtual tour around the world – a journey of eating food from various countries but also to raise awareness for Bloggeraid. This week Foodalogue is stopping in India – I love Indian food and have several Indian cookbooks so I decided this was a good week to join Joan in her virtual trip. This recipe is from the 1983 edition of Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking book – I found the book at a second hand bookstore years and years ago, and it’s still one of my favorites. The updated version on Amazon is very similar to the one I own and I recommend the book highly.

I try to cook a lot of Indian food because it incorporates so many vegetables and legumes and spices that make the dishes so satisfying – the recipe below is a wonderful example. The only change I made from the original is that I cut back on the amount of oil. The naan is from Trader Joe’s – it’s lovely and fluffy.

Red Split Lentils With Cabbage (Masoor dal aur band gobi) Madhur Jaffrey, Indian Cooking
Serves 4 to 6
200g (1 1/4 cups) red split lentils (masoor dal), picked over, washed and drained
1.2 liters (5 cups) water
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
5 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into fine slices
225g (1/2 pound) cored and finely shredded cabbage
1 to 2 fresh, hot green chilies, finely sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 medium tomato, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger

Put the lentils and water into a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Remove any scum that collects at the top. Add the turmeric and stir to mix. Cover, leaving the lid very slightly ajar, turn heat down to low, and simmer gently for 1 1/4 hours. Stir a few times during the last 30 minutes.

When the lentils cook, heat the oil in a 20 to 23 centimeter (8 to 9 inch) frying pan over medium heat. When hot, put in the cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for 3 to 4 seconds. Now put in the garlic. As soon as the garlic pieces begin to brown, put in the onion, cabbage and green chilies. Stir and fry the cabbage mixture for about 10 minutes or until it begins to brown and turn slightly crisp. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Turn off the heat under the frying pan.

When the lentils have cooked for 1 1/4 hours, add the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, the tomato and ginger to the pot. Stir to mix. Cover and cook another 10 minutes. Add the cabbage mixture and any remaining oil in the frying pan. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Note that you don’t want the lentils too mushy so check them around the 1 hour mark.

Simmer uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cabbage is heated through. Picture of book and dish by City Girl.
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Curator March 7, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Mmm, I love Indian food too. This sounds really good and easy (the lentils take a while to cook but it’s not very labor-intensive) so I will definitely take a crack at this. :)


2 Joan Nova March 8, 2009 at 3:12 am

Thanks for joining us. The red lentils and cabbage is an interesting addition to our round-up.


3 K March 10, 2009 at 3:16 pm

mmm this sounds delicious! i’m going to have to try it this weekend.


4 drriftwood March 11, 2009 at 12:28 am

Nice recipe- will try this sometime soon. Thanks! (I’ve cooked cabbage with moong dal but not with masoor dal(red lentils)- sounds and looks yummy!!)..
5 tablespoons?? wonder you had to reduce the….Also, using a pressure cooker to cook the lentils might considerably reduce the cooking time?



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