For Sandy. Here is a recipe that is so simple and delicious for this book:
1 cup red and yellow split lentils (masoor dal and mung dal) mixed in equal proportions, picked over, washed and drained
1/2 t turmeric
3/4 t salt
3 T vegetable oil
A generous pinc of ground asafetida ( you must have this!)
1/2 t cumin seeds
2-3 dried hot red chiles
Put the lentils in a heavy pot with 2 1/2 cups of water and the turmeric. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, turn heat to low, and simmer gently for 40 minutes, or until tender. Stir a few times during the cooking. Add the salt and mix. Leave covered over very low heat.
Heat the oil in a small frying pan over fairlyh high heat. When hot, add the asafetida, then a second later, the cumin seeds. Let the cumin seeds sizzle for a few seconds. Add the chiles. As soon as they turn dark red – this takes just a few seconds – lift up the lid of the lentil pot and pour in the contents of the frying pan, oil as well as spices. Cover the pot immediately to trap the aromas.