Dal Recipe (Courtesy of Wolfgang Puck, 2002)

Indian food is perfect for lesser and greater yin. The spices are so warming that you can eat vegetarian, although this recipe contains chicken stock. This is exactly as Puck wrote it. If you can’t have liver building food, just use lemon instead of vinegar. Leave out the salt, of course. Also the Garam Masala contains coriander seeds. Leave them out. The most important ingredients in Garam Masala are cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Make the Garam Masala well ahead of time. You’ll have plenty left over for adding to lots of other dishes.

Serves 4-6

1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter
1 1/2 cups diced onions
2 Tbs. minced garlic
2 jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded and minced
1 Tbs. cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
2 cups orange lentils
2 Tbs. finely minced ginger
2 Tbs. Garam Masala, recipe follows
1 Tbs. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbs. sugar
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 Tbs. rice vinegar
8 cups chicken stock

In a large pot, heat the ghee and stir-fry the onions just until wilted, do not brown. Add the garlic, jalapeno, cumin, lentils, ginger, curry powder (Garam Masala), salt, pepper, sugar and bay leaf. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes, until the herbs and spices bloom (aromatic). Add the tomatoes and deglaze with the vinegar. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning with cumin, salt, pepper and sugar.

Garam Masala:

1 Tbs. black peppercorns
1/2 Tbs. whole cloves
1 Tbs. plus 1/2 tsp. cardamom seeds
3 Tbs. cumin seeds
3 Tbs. coriander seeds
4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup dried red chiles
1/2 Tbs. freshly grated nutmeg

In a large saute pan, combine the black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon sticks and dried red chiles. Over medium heat, cook just until slightly toasted, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and stir in the grated nutmeg.

Transfer to a food processor and grind to a fine powder. Pass through a fine strainer. Allow to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight jar. Use as needed.

Disclaimer: Self-diagnosis is often inaccurate and not recommended. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for personal, professional, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.