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Swiss Chard Dahl
Jun 13th, 2005

This recipe came from something called dharmakshetra.com and really seemed doomed to fail. The recipe has you adding ingredients that are never mentioned in the ingredient list, and conversely, includes ingredients in the list that are never dealt with in the recipe. At one point I found myself staring down at my biggest pan filled to overflowing with chopped swiss chard flecked with the occasional very hard red lentil. The odds of these ingredients somehow cohering into that spicy, aromatic, velvety concoction called Dahl seemed slim at best.

And yet, somehow it worked. That fabulous alchemy that seems to lie at the heart of Indian recipes turned all my homely and disparate ingredients into a very tasty way to deal with three bunches of swiss chard snoozing away in my fridge. You really do need the red lentils for this. I believe I have sung the praises of red lentils enough here, so just go get some already. If swiss chard isn't your cup of tea, substitute spinach, or google a plainer recipe for a red lentil dahl. And not to be bossy or anything, but the recipe for Olga's flatbread can be found in the Recipe Archive, and goes fabulously with this veggie meal.

Here is the fixed up recipe.


Swiss Chard Dahl

2 lbs Swiss chard
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander
1 fresh red Chili (or a few drops chili oil)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup red lentils, soaked for half an hour beforehand
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon Ghee (I used unsalted butter)
3 peeled tomatoes (canned work just swell)
sufficient salt to taste
sufficient tomato puree to thicken (probably 1/2 cup in my case)


Chop the stems off the swish chard. Cut them up into 1/4 inch pieces. In a large frying pan boil them with a little water. Add the chopped chili.

After five minutes add the black pepper, cumin, turmeric, and coriander. Simmer with a lid on for ten minutes. Add the rest of the coarsely chopped swiss chard and the water. Now add the red lentils.

Simmer for a couple of minutes more. Add the tomatoes, leave to simmer for about 10 minutes. The lentils should be soft but still intact. Add the tomato puree, ghee (butter), and salt to taste.

Simmer for another couple of minutes till the the Dahl has thickened. Some vigorous stirring at this point wouldn't hurt anything either.

-Adapted from dharmakshetra.com
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© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com