The dried red lentils in my pantry have been staring me down for weeks saying “cook me and enjoy me!”. Yet, I declined and downright avoided their pleas up until this evening when I opened their glass mason jar and made an Ayurvedic Red Lentil Dal. As I started to cook, I began to wonder why I had been avoiding cooking these cheerful, orange-hued lentils. I suppose it felt like making them would be time-consuming; however, I was swiftly reminded how ridiculously fast red lentils cook!
It’s true, red lentils, known as Masoor Dal in India, are the quickest cooking of all lentils, making them perfect for a no-fuss, healthy meal any time of the week. Not to mention, they are also packed with fiber, protein, B vitamins and are an excellent source of iron. From the Ayurvedic lens, red lentils are considered astringent, sweet, cooling and easy to digest for all doshas, especially when combined with herbs supportive to each dosha (vata, pitta and kapha). Even more, red lentils are categorized in Ayurveda as a sattvic food, meaning that they increase harmonious and serene vibrations in both the body and mind.
Since we find ourselves in the midst of springtime, also known as kapha season in Ayurveda, I decided to prepare this Ayurvedic Red Lentil Dal with the intention of balancing kapha. Thanks to my Kapha Spice Blend, I was able to easily add the perfect blend of kapha balancing spices into the recipe. This Spice Blend is formulated with ginger, black pepper, pippali and cinnamon which give this dal the perfect amount of spice, warmth and flavor. Additionally, these supportive spices round out the dish, kindle agni (digestive fire) and stimulate gentle detoxification.
Balancing All Doshas
If you are working to reduce excess kapha dosha (water + earth energy) this spring, we recommend following the exact recipe below. If you are focusing on reducing excess vata dosha (ether + air energy), we recommend substituting the Kapha Spice Blend for the Vata Spice Blend as this will impart a sweeter, more moisturizing effect. If you are aiming to reduce excess pitta dosha (fire energy), we recommend omitting the cinnamon powder and fresh ginger as well as substituting the Kapha Spice Blend for the Pitta Spice Blend.
We hope you enjoy the recipe! May it inspire you to make freshly prepared food in the comfort of your home this spring season.
Ayurvedic Red Lentil Dal
1-2 tsp. coconut oil or ghee
1 small to medium-sized red onion, diced
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 c. red lentils, dried
3-4 c. water (amount depends on consistency preference)
1 pinch of saffron threads
1 small to medium-sized lemon, juiced
½ tsp. Kapha Spice Blend