I have a love/hate relationship with the slow cooker. The “hate”, I believe, is programmed into my genetic code as I get slightly nervous leaving the slow cooker plugged in for eight hours in an empty house. You see, my grandmother would unplug the tv and cable every time she left the house. My mother can’t stand leaving the toaster plugged in after using it. I suppose as the generations pass, the fear of appliances blowing up is reduced. Although I’m not as extreme with unplugging the tv when I leave the house, I still have some of the residual nerves over the crockpot. As a result, I’ll use the crockpots only on the weekends when I know I’m going to be home. During the week…not so much.
The “love” of slow cookers comes from being able to make a flavor infused dish with little fuss. I simply dump all the ingredients into the cooker, turn it on, and walk away. The result of this recipe is a flavorful comfort food for dinner with plenty of leftovers to snack on the rest of the week. It’s worth the wait. I’m just not straying too far from the house while it’s cooking.
Crockpot Indian Lentils (Chana Dal) and Tomatoes
3 cups dried chana dal (yellow lentils, brown lentils also work well, too)
1 large tomato, chopped
2 t garlic powder
1 t salt
2 t turmeric powder
2 t cumin powder
2 t coriander powder
1/8 t cayenne (or more, to taste)
Sort through dal to remove any “stones” and rinse.
Add dal to slow cooker and add 9 cups water. (Good rule of thumb is for every cup of dal, add 3-4 cups water.)
Add spices and stir to combine.
Cover. Plug in crock pot, set on low, and cook for 6-8 hours or until lentils soften. Check occasionally to see if more water needs to be added.
If desired, add chopped onions into the crockpot at the beginning or cooking or add some browned onions at the end. Serve over rice…or just straight out of a bowl.