Toast 1t cumin seeds in some cooking oil until the seeds begin to sputter. Reduce heat. Add two small onions chopped. Sauté the onions until softened. Add 7 cloves of garlic finely chopped to the onions continue to sauté over medium heat. The goal is to get the onions and garlic dark and carmelized but not burned
Combine 1 cup red lentils (rinsed) with 3 cups of vegetable broth and a can of diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer until tender (about 20 mins)
Add to the sauté pan 1 t coriander, 1/2 t cayenne and 1 t turmeric to the pan and stir. Mixture should be a dark brown. This mixture is called the Tadka.
Stir the Tadka into the lentil mixture (including residual oil). Continue to cook until dal reaches the desired thickness. Whisk a tablespoon of vegan butter (Earth Balance) into the dal to emulsify. Add salt to taste.
Serve over basmati rice with chopped fresh cilantro if desired
Recipe by Robert Acosta-Lewis