This is an adaptation / combination from one of our favorite Indian cookbooks. I've been working my dhal recipe for awhile now and could not get the flavor profile I was looking for. Once Kerry and I tasked the results, we stopped eating and dashed to the kitchen to write down everything we'd done. We knew this was
Get your spices ready!
I have been known more than once for having to start a recipe over for not having my 'mise en place' in order. Thus burning perfectly good spices during the scramble that ensues. This is one recipe when having 'everything in its place' will do you much good.
I use ramekins or small dishes keep everything ready to dump at the appropriate time. The picture you see is not for this dish... We did not know it was going to turn out so well. I'll update next time I make this dhal... it won't be long!
Prepare the Oil
In a large heavy bottomed pot melt the ghee under medium heat. If I don't have ghee on h and I prefer the buttery taste of Almond Oil which also holds up well to high heat. Do not let the oil smoke.
Except for the curry leaves, add all the spices listed under 'For the Oil'. Stir fry them until they darken and begin to pop but do not burn, about 2 minutes
Add the curry leaves and fry for another minute.
Add the sliced onions to the oil in the pot and fry on medium high heat. Keep frying until they begin to darken and caramelize. Add more ghee if necessary
Next add the ground bison, venison or beef along with the garlic, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala, coriander and ginger. Fry together stirring frequently until the meat is browned.
Add the can of diced tomatoes to the meat and onions and stir scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the beef broth and bring it back to a boil.
Add both types of dhal to the pot, stir and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally to make sure the dhal is not sticking to the bottom. Add salt to taste and check to ensure the lentils are cooked. The red lentis will begin to fall apart and the split yellow lentils hold their shape but are tender.
Add the diced potatoes and diced greens. Stir to incorporate them into the dish. Cover and cook 10 more minutes or until the potatoes and greens are cooked through
Prepare the Fried Spices (Tarka)
Tarka is an Indian cooking technique where you temper your spices in oil to add an additional layer of flavor to your dish. It is best done immediately before serving and drizzling on the dhal while hot and sizzling.
Heat the ghee or oil in a separate pan to about a medium heat. All at once add all the prepared spices, onion and garlic from the 'Fried Spices (Tarka) list. Continue to fry and toss the spices frequently. Continue frying until the onions are darkening and the sliced garlic is browned and getting crispy. At that point add a pinch of salt stir and remove from heat.
If you have not already, fill your bowls with the dhal and drizzle the tarka evenly between the dishes.
Add a dollop of whole milk yogurt and some fresh cilantro and enjoy this hearty and deeply spiced dhal dish.