1/2 cup each of 5 different lentils (green moong, red masrur, black lentil, yellow lentil, and chennay (which is like a tan-colored split pea)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 T. vegetable oil
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. grated fresh garlic
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 green chili, chopped (remove seeds if desired)
2 T. fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, (or to taste)
2 1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp. garam masala
Pick through the lentils to remove debris and stones. Rinse them and then soak in water for 1 hour.
Heat the oil in a stock pot, add the onions and fry on medium heat stirring occasionally until they’ve browned (about 8 min). Then add the ginger and garlic. Fry for about 1 min. being careful not to burn it. Drain the lentils and add them to the pot. Add enough water to cover the lentils and a bit more. Bring to a boil and skim off foam. Reduce heat and cook, covered, for 15 min. Then add the tomatoes, green chili, cilantro, cumin, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper, salt and yogurt. Stir, bring back to a simmer then cover and cook 30 to 40 min. until lentils are soft. Add the garam masala. Blend it with a hand blender. It will be thick; the consistency of smooth oatmeal. Serve with bread or nan. Garnish with cilantro, chopped ginger and green chillies if desired. Another popular garnish is onions shallow-fried in oil til they’re crispy and brown, but it’s great without garnishes as well.
Tip: If you don’t have access to a store that sells a variety of lentils, try split green peas and any lentils you can find at your grocery store. Then adjust the amounts to equal a total of 2 1/2 cups. You may find bags of mixed lentils, but it will take a discerning eye to spot the debris or stones when sorting through a mix of colors.