Signs that a recipe is about to be epic include, but are not limited to, “nestle pot among hot coals, then take a few hot coals and place on top of lid. Cook for eight hours.” That proportion of extreme cooking is among the “throw alcohol on it, light on fire” and “sprinkle with sugar, torch” strain of the absolute best kind of cooking.
Completely failing to rise to the occasion, we did not cook our kilo-plus of Dal over an open fire—we did not nestle, swath, or cradle our pot(s) of lentils among hot coals. Unfortunately for us, we lack a fire pit and the technical abilities to build a fire that will sustain itself for eight hours. Also, my roommates and I like our house. It has all it’s walls, a roof, even a couple porches. Thus far, though granted we’ve only been there for about two weeks, there are not smoke or burn marks.
We’re aiming for about a month before those mystically appear.
One of my roommates finished off a several week internship in India with a final tour of the country, staying in converted palaces, mansions, etc., one of which was in the middle of it’s own lake. Apparently nothing in India is done casually. Along with hangings of Ganesh and a handy bag of authentic Garam Masala, my roommate brought back the cookbook from the Taj Hotel, a compilation of all the favorite—favourite for those more cultured than American college students—recipes from the hotel restaurants. And nestled among the phenomenally complicated and delicious looking recipes was a homely recipe for Dal Handi, black lentil dal.
Recipe on the following page.