Like a soup or stew, Indian dal features a delicious broth, as does this flavorful, creamy vegetarian take. Studded with jewel-like pomegranate seeds, this dish should be paired with raita (cucumber yogurt sauce) and naan bread for the most authentic dinner. Be sure to add the salt later in the cooking process so the lentils have a chance to soften.
Tip:To adapt a slow-cooker recipe to a conventional oven, follow these guidelines: add more liquid, to accommodate for greater evaporation; bring the dish to a boil over high heat in a Dutch oven, then cover the pot and put in a 350°F oven. Plan on the dish taking roughly half the time to cook in the oven as it would in the slow cooker.
Add the lentils to the slow cooker.
Heat the oil in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions, carrots, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, garam masala, and turmeric and sauté until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the chutney, tomato paste, and flour and cook until the flour is no longer visible, about 1 minute.
Add the stock and lime juice, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil, whisking. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the coconut milk. Pour over the lentils. Cover and cook on low until the lentils are tender, 6 to 8 hours. Stir in the salt and coconut. Garnish each portion with pomegranate seeds, cilantro, and a lime wedge, and serve.
Photo: Andrew Hugh Purcell