Indian Buttered Lentils

Indian Buttered Lentils

This past weekend, I decided to clean out our cupboard as it was just getting littered by my kids. I think that when they make their lunch, they just toss things on the mid-shelf, not realizing that it just becomes cluttered and a complete mess. Upon organizing and putting things where they should be, I came across a bag of lentils, along with some red lentils that I had used in the past.  I’m a total fan of lentils, as is my wife. Are you? There is something about them. The creaminess of them, and when cooked with awesome Indian spices, well things just get a whole lot better. As I had Indian food on my mind, and particularly butter chicken, I decided that I would take a spin on making Indian buttered lentils. These things were awesome!

Indian Buttered Lentils Recipe
Indian Buttered Lentils Recipe

This recipe uses an array of Indian spices, of which are cooked along a lot of caramelized onions, garlic, ginger, and then folded into cooked lentils, only to simmer longer making them nice and creamy.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 cup of green lentils
  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 7 cups of chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp clarified butter
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium sized red onion, diced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely diced, almost into a paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced, almost into a paste
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cardamom pods
  • 3 Thai bird chilies (or serrano) kept whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Spanish paprika
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • generous pinch of salt, to taste
  • 14 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup of half and half
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Warmed naan bread to serve
  • thinly sliced chili, optional

This is a bit of a process, but well worth it, trust me. My wife described it as everything comforting in her life in a bowl.

Start by adding the lentils to a medium sized bowl, and cover with water, about 2 inches above the lentils. You are going to let these soak overnight. The following day, strain and rinse the lentils. Place these into a medium sized pot, cover with the chicken stock, and bring them to a boil. Once they come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover, cooking for about 1 hour.

During this time, make the Indian spice mixture.

How to make Indian Buttered Lentils
How to make Indian Buttered Lentils

Start by making the clarified butter. To a non-stick, small skillet, add four tablespoons of unsalted butter. Cook this on medium heat. You will notice the butter begins to foam after awhile. Take a spoon and skim the foam, leaving as much butter in tact. Repeat this until all of the foam has removed. If you want, you can strain this through a cheese cloth, or if you are making a lot of it to be stored for later use, then you can refer to another way to make clarified butter.

Add the cinnamon stick to the lentils that are cooking, then cover again and continue to simmer.

Next, have your mise en place ready, as the rest will go fairly quick.

To a large skillet, add the clarified butter, and cook on medium heat. Add in the diced onions, and cook just until they begin to caramelize, lowering the heat if necessary as you do not want to burn the onions. This typically takes about 10-15 minutes or so.

Once the onions are browned, toss in the garlic and ginger, and cook until you get that awesome fragrance from the garlic.

Toss in the cardamom pods, chilies, garam masala, cumin, coriander, paprika, fenugreek, and bay leaf. Cook for a few minutes, getting those awesome oils from the Indian spices.

Yes, step back and smell your house. Lord I love that smell.

Indian Buttered Lentils Recipe
Indian Buttered Lentils Recipe

Remove from the heat, and place that mixture into a bowl. Now you can clean up a bit before the lentils are finished cooking.

About a hour into the lentils cooking, add the salt to the lentils, and the Indian spice mixture. Pour in the both cans of tomatoes and paste, give a good stir, cover, and continue to cook for about 30 minutes.

Now you are getting ready, and excited, to eat! A few minutes before serving, add in the half and half and and additional five tablespoons of butter. Let the butter completely melt in the lentils.

During this time, warm up your naan. Trust me, the naan is a great dipping tool.

Ladle a generous amount of the buttered lentils in a bowl, top with diced onion or chilies, if you desire, tear off some of the naan, and spoon in one hand, and naan in the other, get busy. Not only is this a super affordable meal, and one that makes a lot, it super delicious, comforting, and great for you to boot. Well, it does have butter, but what’s not to love about that? I hope you enjoy!

Indian Buttered Lentils
Author: 
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of green lentils
  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 7 cups of chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp clarified butter
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium sized red onion, diced
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely diced, almost into a paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced, almost into a paste
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cardamom pods
  • 3 Thai bird chilies (or serrano) kept whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp fenugreek
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp Spanish paprika
  • ¼ tsp coriander powder
  • generous pinch of salt, to taste
  • 14 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • ¾ cup of half and half
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Warmed naan bread to serve
  • thinly sliced chili, optional
Instructions
  1. This is a bit of a process, but well worth it, trust me. My wife described it as everything comforting in her life in a bowl.
  2. Start by adding the lentils to a medium sized bowl, and cover with water, about 2 inches above the lentils. You are going to let these soak overnight. The following day, strain and rinse the lentils. Place these into a medium sized pot, cover with the chicken stock, and bring them to a boil. Once they come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover, cooking for about 1 hour.
  3. During this time, make the Indian spice mixture.
  4. Start by making the clarified butter. To a non-stick, small skillet, add four tablespoons of unsalted butter. Cook this on medium heat. You will notice the butter begins to foam after awhile. Take a spoon and skim the foam, leaving as much butter in tact. Repeat this until all of the foam has removed. If you want, you can strain this through a cheese cloth, or if you are making a lot of it to be stored for later use, then you can refer to another way to make clarified butter.
  5. Add the cinnamon stick to the lentils that are cooking, then cover again and continue to simmer.
  6. Next, have your mise en place ready, as the rest will go fairly quick.
  7. To a large skillet, add the clarified butter, and cook on medium heat. Add in the diced onions, and cook just until they begin to caramelize, lowering the heat if necessary as you do not want to burn the onions. This typically takes about 10-15 minutes or so.
  8. Once the onions are browned, toss in the garlic and ginger, and cook until you get that awesome fragrance from the garlic.
  9. Toss in the cardamom pods, chilies, garam masala, cumin, coriander, paprika, fenugreek, and bay leaf. Cook for a few minutes, getting those awesome oils from the Indian spices.
  10. Yes, step back and smell your house. Lord I love that smell.
  11. Remove from the heat, and place that mixture into a bowl. Now you can clean up a bit before the lentils are finished cooking.
  12. About a hour into the lentils cooking, add the salt to the lentils, and the Indian spice mixture. Pour in the both cans of tomatoes and paste, give a good stir, cover, and continue to cook for about 30 minutes.
  13. Now you are getting ready, and excited, to eat! A few minutes before serving, add in the half and half and and additional five tablespoons of butter. Let the butter completely melt in the lentils.
  14. During this time, warm up your naan. Trust me, the naan is a great dipping tool.
  15. Ladle a generous amount of the buttered lentils in a bowl, top with diced onion or chilies, if you desire, tear off some of the naan, and spoon in one hand, and naan in the other, get busy.

 

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