There are times in life when an idea pops into your head and you feel certain that it’s going to turn out well. Later, when you follow through, you discover that your idea wasn’t merely adequate; it was utterly marvellous.
Like, say, when you decide on a whim to move to Canada despite never having visited the country before and you know it will be an adventure then almost a year after you first conceived of the plan you find yourself lying with your two new housemate-friends on a half-broken couch-futon squished together like laughing sardines and it’s your second night in your new sublet and you’re watching Midnight in Paris and you have a mug of hot tea resting on your stomach moving up and down slightly with each breath and there’s a cat printed on the mug and your stomach feels wonderfully warm in a perfect circle beneath the tea and the cat is looking at you and you’re looking at the pairs of feet lined up at the base of the half-broken couch-futon and suddenly all of your earlier quiet fluttering panic about not knowing what you’re doing with your life melts away and all that matters is the crystal clarity of this moment, this crystal perfect moment, this one moment in time.
Or when you decide to make a red lentil dal but you want to make it different and unique somehow; you want it to be representative of the fact that you’re in Canada, that you’re really living in Canada, so you think let’s add some fresh tart lovely bright red jewel cranberries to the spiced red lentils, and you think it will be good, but it turns out to be better than good. Your Vegan Red Lentil Dal with Cranberries turns out to be the best dal-slash-red-lentil-soup you’ve ever made or eaten.
It’s like that.
Vegan Red Lentil Dal with Cranberries
Adapted from Orangette
- 1 tb olive or coconut oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 medium green capsicum (bell pepper), chopped
- 1 tb (heaping) tomato paste
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 1/4 litres vegetable stock
- 1 cup red lentils
- 3/4 – 1 cup fresh cranberries (see note for substitutions)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then sauté the onion, garlic, and capsicum for about five minutes until onion is translucent and capsicum has softened.
- Add the tomato paste, cumin, and smoked paprika, and stir for another two minutes until the paste and spices are beginning to toast and your kitchen starts to smell delicious.
- Pour in the vegetable stock and lentils, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for half an hour.
- Add the fresh cranberries ten minutes into the lentils’ cooking time, so that the cranberries simmer and meld with the deliciousness for about twenty minutes.
- Season to taste, and serve.
Notes: If you can’t access fresh cranberries where you are (hi Australia!), try adding an equal amount of thinly sliced rhubarb. Alternatively, skip the cranberries altogether but season with a few squeezes of fresh lemon, to taste, just before serving. This makes a very soup-y dal, so if you’d prefer something more suited to serving over rice, cut down the stock by about two cups.