This is a delicately spiced curry from a terrific hostess in Katmandu. Saraswati made hers with mung beans or green lentils, which take about 40 minutes to cook. Red lentils cook in less than half that time.
1 cup red lentils
½ teaspoons ground turmeric
¼ cup butter
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
3 large doves garlic, minced
2" stick cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 large tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1-5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds, crushed and toasted
steamed rice and yogurt as accompaniments
Place the lentils in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover them by 1 ½ inch, about 4 cups. Add the turmeric, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and ginger and cook and stir for 2 minutes.
When the lentils have cooked, add them to the onion mixture along with the tomato, salt, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, red pepper flakes and fenugreek. Heat through. Taste for salt and add enough lemon juice to spark the flavor, up to 4 more tablespoons. Serve accompanied by steamed rice and yogurt.