Orange Split Lentils with Tomatoes & Cilantro Recipe

The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles offers a panoramic view of one of India’s most delicious, and least-known, regional cuisines.

Bengali Five Spice Chronicle Cookbook Orange Split Lentils with Tomatoes and Cilantro recipe

Exploring the Cuisine of Eastern India
By Rinku Bhattacharya
Hippocrene Books; November 2012

In this new cookbook, author Rinku Bhattacharya aims to bring this distinctive culinary experience to home kitchens in the U.S. In The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, Rinku explains the food and culture of her native homeland in Eastern India and showcases the recipes that are at the heart of Bengali life.

The book gets its title from the five-spice blend Bengalis call panch phoron. This spice blend consists of five whole spices in equal proportions: cumin seeds, mustard seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds, and fennel seeds and is at the heart of Bengali flavors and the individual spices form the basis of the Bengali pantry.

With over 180 easy-to-follow recipes incorporating a balance of traditional and contemporary recipes, The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles showcases the best of the Bengali table with recipes including; Crisp Lentil Cakes in Curried Gravy; Lightly Spiced Pan-Sautéed Okra; Slow-Cooked Rice with Saffron; Red Snapper in a Coconut Tamarind Sauce and this recipe Orange Split Lentils with Tomatoes and Cilantro

Makes: 6 servings

This is a weeknight variation of orange split lentils which are extremely versatile because of their quick cooking time and naturally mild and adaptive taste. This light variation can be enjoyed as a soup in winter, with hot buttered whole wheat toast.

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes

½ cup dried orange/red split lentils (masoor dal)
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
4 green chilies, slit lengthwise
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons ghee (clarified butter)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Put the lentils and 3 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the turmeric, salt, and green chilies and cook for about 15 minutes. While the lentils are boiling a scum may form on the surface, gently remove this while the lentils
are cooking.

Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Mix the mixture well—it should have a nice soupy consistency that is not too thin or too thick.

Heat the ghee in a small skillet on medium heat for about 1 minute and add the cumin seeds and wait till the seeds begin to sizzle. Pour this seasoned ghee over the lentils and stir in the cilantro.

To learn more about Rinku and Bengali cooking visit her website,

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