Lentils w/ Cumin and Asafetida

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.
Serves 4.


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