Madras lentils

I want a real easy recipe for Madras lentils. This doesn’t have to be five-star cuisine. If it even tastes as good as the stuff you buy at the Indian store in the foil pouch, that’s just fine. I just want to be able to make a bathtub full of the stuff and freeze it for when I don’t have the time/inclination/energy to cook. Pop it in the nuker, heat up a piece of naan, grab a handful of salad greens out of the bag and drizzle on some balsamic, and I’ve got the five-minute dinner I so desperately need and crave. I’m willing to cook the lentils myself, but I want everything else to come out of a can or carton. Anybody have a plan?

  1. Buy lentils, any kind.
  2. Buy madras simmer sauce, as in:
  3. Cook lentils according to packet.
  4. Mix in the sauce.

This isn’t how I would do it, mind you. I’d sautee a bunch of onions and garlic, for instance, and maybe finish with yoghurt instead. (Balsamic vinegar, really?) I’d probably make my own naan too… :wink:

But this is the bare bones. If you want to fancy it up in future, just ask!

I’ve made my own naan too, and it’s literally the best flatbread I’ve ever tasted. But Og, it’s so much work. Messy too. And I can sometimes get a bunch of the stuff for free.

Here’s a tentative recipe I cobbled together:

1 pound of whole urad, soaked overnight
¼ pound red beans, soaked overnight
1 pint of cream
1 stick butter
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon lal mirch
Diced onion

Throw everything in crock pot, go to work. Come home from work. Turn off crockpot, heat naan, make salad, eat.

Think this will work? Do I have enough tomatoes, or should I make it more?

Not on the lentils

How big are your cans?

Less butter. Less cream, and I might not slow cook the cream all day, just stir in at the end, or use coconut or yoghurt instead. Also add ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander. You could simplify this step with madras curry powder mix, e.g., this one.

The regular #12 size cans, like a soup can. I can just say forget the crockpot and do it on the stove, would that be a better plan?

This sounds like a recipe for “Mah ki Dal” (Mother’s Dal) or “Dal Makhani” (Buttered Dal). Its funny that it is known as Madras lentils because it is soooo far from being from Madras.

Lentil recipes from that part of the country are completely different.

I am sure Indian stores in your are will carry some sauces/powders that you can use to make your dal. These would be definitely way cheaper than the ones you can buy in the regular grocery stores. You probably will not find stuff for “Madras lentils” but more for the other two names I gave.

I’ve made a similar dish, and am pleased to report that it freezes extremely well. I have even added raw rice to the almost-cooked, soupy lentil dish, and it becomes curried-rice-and-lentils.

My version, IIRC, is that I cook lentils until they’re about ten or so minutes from being done, and then add raw rice and some Indian spices that I’ve fried in melted butter along with chopped onions and garlic. Simmer 10-15 minutes more, and it’s done.