My latest inspiration-expedition into my recipe files turned up this red lentil dal from the February 2002 issue of Living. It was from an article about healthy peas and lentils. The pea bisque with shrimp and tarragon sounded great too, but the lentils worked well as starter or snack before a late dinner of Andhra scrambled eggs. I use red lentils pretty frequently for soup, and I find that they cook much faster than other lentils. Their texture is softer, and I would say they nearly melt in your mouth. When they begin to break apart a little while cooking and thicken the broth, I get very happy.
The pretty, red lentils were rinsed and then placed in a pot with water, broth, and turmeric and left to cook for about 20 minutes. In a small skillet, butter was melted and then garlic, cumin seeds, and crushed red pepper were added. Once fragrant, that was poured into the lentils. Diced tomatoes, mint, and salt were added as well. This could be served piping hot or at room temperature. Pita chips were suggested for dipping, but we used some store-bought, whole wheat naan instead.
The cumin and mint added nice flavor, and the heat from the crushed red pepper can be adjusted to your taste. It makes a delicious and filling snack. We went diving right into it only to realize that a couple of bites with naan were enough to tide us over until mealtime. Fortunately, the leftovers re-heated nicely, and it was delicious all over again a couple of days later.