Notes: Garam masala, an Indian spice blend, is available in well-stocked supermarkets and Indian grocery stores. If you can't find the blend, use this mixture: Stir together 3/4 teaspoon each ground coriander and ground cumin; 1/4 teaspoon onion salt; and 1/8 teaspoon each pepper, cayenne, and garlic salt.
1 cup dried Red Chief (decorticated) lentils
4 cups vegetable or fat-skimmed chicken broth
About 2 1/2 teaspoons garam masala (see notes)
2 teaspoons salad oil
How to Make It
Sort lentils and discard debris. Rinse lentils, drain, and put in a 2- to 3-quart pan. Add broth and 1 teaspoon garam masala. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, and when boil resumes, reduce heat to a gentle simmer; stir occasionally, until lentils are barely tender to bite, about 5 minutes. Pour into a strainer over a bowl and drain well; reserve broth for other uses or discard. Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala with lentils.
Rub 2 baking pans (each 10 by 15 in.) evenly with oil. Divide lentils equally between pans and spread into a level layer.
Bake in a 375° regular or convection oven until lentils are lightly toasted and crisp to bite, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool in pan about 10 minutes. Lentils may soften when cool; if so, return to oven and stir occasionally until they are again crisp to bite.
Pour lentils into a serving bowl. Add more garam masala and salt to taste. Serve, or store airtight up to 2 weeks.