Dal Bhat of Nepal

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Do try this at home: cook curry leaves and black mustard seeds over the stove in a little olive oil. The seeds will pop like kernels, and the leaves will char slightly. Together, they create aromatics so good – on par with the likes of garlic and ginger.

That’s the base of this dish, and if you make it, you won’t find curry leaves just anywhere. We went to a small Middle Eastern market, and had to ask for curry leaves because none were being displayed. The man at the counter disappeared in the back room for a few minutes, and came out with a small bag of big, beautiful curry leaves. I had to do a little research on exactly what they were, read this article to learn more.

The other star of this dish was the lentil. I do not have a great history with lentils; the couple times I’ve tried making it, I made up the recipes. Both were flops, leaving a bad taste in my mouth and a poor opinion of lentils. This recipe helped dislodge those first impressions.

The dish fulfilled my expectations of Nepalese cuisine: rugged, quaint, inexpensive, with Middle Eastern flavors. I did find myself craving salt, and sprinkled just a little bit on. The key to create the best flavor is adding the fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime just before digging in. This balances out the earthy spices in which lentils are cooked. I’m really glad I’ve reconciled with lentils, for I’m always looking for inexpensive, vegetarian meals that are hearty and filling.

Ingredient List

  • ¾ Cup Basmati Rice
  • 5 Ounces Baby Carrots
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 1 Small Piece Ginger
  • 1 Long Red Chili Pepper
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Sprig Fresh Curry Leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ½ Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 Cup Yellow Lentils
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Lime

Quick Quotes

S: “After eating these lentils, it has become clear to me, that I still don’t like lentils. The Nepalese folk music is awesome. Dish got better when we remembered the lime!”

T: “I needed to add salt to this. Cilantro and lime essential. I liked it more than Spencer – plain, yes, but I liked the lentils for the most part.”

Trivial Trifles

  • The capital of Nepal is Kathmandu
  • The official language is Nepali
  • Nepal had the world’s last Hindu monarchy
  • The founder of Buddhism, Siddharta Gautama, was born in Lumbini, Nepal, and is a Buddhist pilgrimage site
  • Of the ten tallest mountains in the world, Nepal is home to eight of them

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