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Curried Red Onion Jam with Simple Dal
(recipe, Cheryl Sternman Rule)
A dal is an Indian pulse porridge, often made with lentils. This version starts out quite humble. Then a dollop of glistening red-onion jam adds a lusty note right at the end. Save any leftover jam for sandwiches.
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 3 medium red onions, diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. curry powder
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 2 cups red lentils, picked through and rinsed
- 2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
- ½ to 1 whole small red chile pepper, seeded (if desired) and minced, or to taste
- 2 star anise pods
- Set the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the brown sugar, curry powder, and vinegar. Let bubble for a few seconds, then reduce the heat to low. Cook until thick and jammy, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, set the lentils, ginger, chile, star anise, and 6¾ cups (1.5 liters) cold water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook 30 to 40 minutes, uncovered, until thick, loose, and porridge like, stirring occasionally and addicting 1½ teaspoons salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper halfway through. (Dal will thicken a bit upon standing.) Adjust the seasonings one final time, to taste, and discard the star anise.
- Divide the dal among serving bowls. Spoon a generous scoop of red onion jam (re-warm if necessary) on top. (Refrigerate any leftover jam.)
Tip: For a more filling meal, spoon this dal over brown rice.