Masoor (Red Lentil) Daal with Spinach and Garlic topped with a Tomato-Onion “tarka”

2 cups red lentils

5 cups water

3 cloves garlic, chopped finely

2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 Tb. Turmeric powder

Salt, pepper & lemon

Rinse out lentils several times.  Put into a deep and heavy bottomed pot with water, turmeric, bay leaf & garlic, and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to medium/low and let cook until lentils are soft (40 min). Stir in spinach towards the end to preserve their color. Add salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Prepare the tarka, below.

For the “tarka”:

½  large white or yellow onion, sliced thin

1 tomato, diced

3 Tb. Oil or ghee

1 Tb. black or brown mustard seeds

Cilantro, washed, chopped for garnish

Dry roast the mustard seeds in a pan until they turn grey and pop.  Add oil, and when warm, add onions and curry leaves.  Turn heat to med-low and let the onions carmelize.  When they are dark brown add the tomatoes and cook down until they are mushy.  Garnish daal with “tarka” top with chopped cilantro and serve hot with plain rice or naan.