Serve this thick stew with hot cooked basmati rice or as a dip for toasted bread.
1 tablespoon salad oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 quart vegetable or fat-skimmed chicken broth
1 1/2 cups dried Red Chief lentils (12 oz.; see notes), sorted and rinsed
1 cup chopped onion
About 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeño chilies
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground dried turmeric
How to Make It
In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium-high heat, frequently stir oil, cumin, and cardamom just until spices are fragrant, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add broth, lentils, onion, 1/4 cup cilantro, ginger, chilies, garlic, and turmeric. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring often, until lentils fall apart, about 15 minutes.
Ladle dal into bowls, sprinkle with more cilantro, and add salt to taste.