Vasantha Prasad

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Red Lentils with Tofu

These quick-cooking lentils are a great source of protein and fiber. Red lentils are immersed in a delicious tomato puree with fragrant seasonings.  Tofu has a spongelike ability to pick up the surrounding flavors and is added at the end. The dish’s lovely orange-red hue serves as an attractive side accompaniment to rice, chicken, or fish.

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time:  35–40 minutes Serves:  4

1 c. red lentil (masoor dal), rinsed

4 1/4 c. water, divided

3 Tbsp. extra light olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 green chilies, split in half and chopped

3 garlic cloves

1 medium tomato, chopped

2 Tbsp. butter

2 cardamom (green) pods (or use 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom)

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. red chili powder

14 oz. firm tofu, cubed

salt to taste


1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Pour rinsed red lentils and 4 c. of water in a medium saucepan.  Over medium heat, cook dal until it is cooked through, about 20 minutes.  It should be tender but not mushy.

2. In a large skillet, heat oil.  Add onion, chilies, and garlic, and sauté over medium heat until onions are golden.

3. Add tomato and cook for 5 minutes or until tomato is cooked through.  Turn off heat and allow mixture to cool (about 15 minutes).

4. In a blender fitted with a steel blade or a food processor, grind the mixture and 1/4 c. water to a puree.

5. In the same skillet, add butter.  When it melts, add cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, and red chili, and fry over low heat for 1 minute.

6. Add cooked lentils and cook for 3 minutes.  Increase heat to medium and add puree and tofu; cook for 5 minutes.  Salt to taste.

7. Serve with rice, bread, or any dry chicken and fish dish.

What’s good for you:

v Lentils supply complex carbohydrates and healthy amounts of thiamin, vitamin B6, iron, zinc, and potassium. Particularly rich in folate, an essential B vitamin, this low-fat, high-fiber, high-protein food supports heart health.

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