Today, I am bringing to you a delicious, easy-to-make Dal Bhat (Rice and Lentils). Comforting, nutritious, and tasty, this dish is perfect for a cold night.
A dish from Nepal
This month, we are all looking to eat a healthier diet after the holidays. Most of us indulged in big meals with too much sugar and fats, so it is time to allow our bodies to take a break and rest for a little bit.
January is always a month when people think about losing weight or eating healthier.
We often fall into the trap of either not eating enough or eating only salads hoping that we will lose that extra weight.
By the time January is over, we end up back to our regular diets, pretty much hungry and frustrated.
This recipe of Dal Bhat is a good option for a hearty meal in the middle of the cold season. It is vegetarian, but it is also comforting, nutritious, and fulfilling.
While not traditional, you can even add a piece of cooked meat next to this combination to complete the meal.
The recipe from Netflix's "The Climb" - Dal Bhat
This recipe is inspired by the movie "The Climb," which you can watch on Netflix.
The movie is a romantic adventure comedy about a young man climbing Mount Everest to impress the woman he loves.
I was intrigued by the recipe and decided to make it and write about it.
What exactly is Dal Bhat?
Nepal cuisine is very healthy, nourishing, and very tasty. The food is made with basic ingredients and lots of spices that can differ from one region to another and are also available.
For example, rice is considered a staple in Nepal. Still, due to the cold climate in the Himalayas region and also the farming restrictions in some higher areas of Nepal, rice is often substituted with other grains.
Dal Bhat is the traditional Nepali food of locals and trekkers in the Himalayas. It is considered the national dish of Nepal.
Dal means lentil soup, and Bhat means steamed rice, so basically, it is cooked lentils served with rice.
This meal is served twice a day in most parts of Nepal, and most people consume this dish together with vegetable curry or Tarkari.
Dal Bhat is considered healthy, balanced, cheap, and nutritious; therefore, it is also served to trekkers on Mount Everest.
It is either vegetarian or vegan, depending on what type of fat is used.
- Rice- A long grain rice is better than short grain. For best results, use Basmati rice, but if you don't have any, use whatever is in your pantry.
- Lentils- For best results, use red lentils, but again, if you don't have them, use your favorite type of lentils.
- Onions- White onion that needs to be chopped finely
- Garlic- minced
- Tomatoes- chopped
- Ginger- fresh ginger is great, but dried ginger works as well
- Ghee or butter
- Spices: turmeric, salt, cumin, coriander seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, etc.
- Red chili powder or chili peppers
How to make Dal Bhat
First, cook the rice:
Rinse the rice. It gets rid of dusty starches that might make your rice too sticky.
Ratio- Usually, for 1 cup of rice, you need 2 cups of water or stock. Also, follow the instructions on the bag of rice to make sure you cook it right.
Cook the rice- place water, rice, and salt in a pot and allow it to bring to a boil. Cover it with a lid and lower the heat to simmer steadily until the water is absorbed and the grain is cooked. It will need about 15-20 minutes.
Grab a fork and go gently through the rice to ensure the grains do not stick together.
This is the moment to add some butter optionally. The taste will be amazing.
Make the dal or the cooked lentils dish:
Start with the lentils. You can use any lentils you have available. I used red ones.
Chop the onion, and mince the garlic and ginger. Also, chop the tomato.
Heat oil on high in a large pan. Add the chopped onion, garlic, and ginger, and stir until the onion is translucent.
Note about spices: The original recipes require you to grind your spices. As much as I agree that fresh ground spices taste better, I always have powdered spices in my pantry.
My advice is to use what you have available.
Add the chopped tomato.
Add the lentils and cook them in oil and butter for a few minutes. Stir often so they don't stick to the pan.
Add water and boil the lentils as per the cooking instructions for your chosen lentil. Season with salt per your taste.
When the lentils are cooked, you can serve them with rice. Garnish with a lime wedge, some sliced chilies, and some cilantro.
I don't like cilantro, can I replace it with parsley?
Yes, you can. The flavor will be slightly different, but use what you like. Parsley works well.
Is this a soup or a stew?
Traditional Dal has the consistency of more of a soup than a stew. However, everyone makes it different, and there is no harm in making the recipe according to your preferences.
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Dal Bhat (Rice And Lentils)
Plain Rice (Bhat) :
- 1 cup Basmati rice or any other rice available
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt or to your taste
- 1 teaspoon butter optional
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon shredded fresh ginger/or ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 cup lentils any type of lentils work
- 4 to 5 cups water
- 1 tomato chopped/or 2 tablespoons tomato paste/or 3 tablespoons canned crushed tomatoes
- ½ tablespoon butter or ghee
- Optional: 2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
- Optional: 1 red chilli sliced thin
- Cook rice in water and salt, on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until it absorbs the liquid. Remove the rice from the stove and add the butter. This is optionally. It makes the rice soft and fluffy.
How to make Dal(Lentils):
- Chop the onion, mince the garlic and ginger. Also chop the tomato.
- Heat oil on high in a large pan.
- Add the chopped onion, garlic, and ginger, and stir until the onion is translucent.
- Stir in the spices: turmeric, cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for 2 minutes while stirring often.
- Add the chopped tomato.
- Add the lentils and cook them in oil and butter for a few minutes. Stir often, so they don't stick to the pan.
- Add water and boil the lentils as per cooking instructions for your chosen lentil. Season with salt per your taste.
- When the lentils are cooked, you can serve them with rice. Garnish with a lime wedge, some sliced chilies, and some cilantro.