Masoor dal, or red lentils, are a delicious and hearty meal. Now when baggar, also known as a tempered oil, is introduced to them it takes them to another level of flavor. You see the spices like cumin, coriander and mustard seeds are cooked in the hot oil and then aromatic ground spices like turmeric and cayenne, paprika and the like are then swirled in the hot mixture. This is usually poured on top of the cooked lentils and served.
For my Red Lentils with Bagaar Spiced Turkey I am introducing the bagaar spice oil to the ground turkey and vegetable aromatics. I want as much flavor incorporated into the ground turkey as possible. Then the meat mixture is mixed in with the starchy, thick red lentils and vegetables.
Rinse the lentils and in a bowl, cover with water and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. Do not rinse, you don’t want to lose the valuable starch that will thicken the soup. The lentils almost triple in volume so that 1 cup of dried will turn to 3 cups of soaked lentils.
In a dutch oven or stock pot sauté the onions, garlic and ginger of several minutes for the soup.Next start cutting, peeling and dicing the vegetables. Seed and dice the Roma tomatoes and add to the onion mixture. Peel and dice the carrot and chop the celery. Add the chicken stock, vegetables and soaked lentils to the pot . Stir and simmer for 30 minutes.
Using gloves remove the stem, seeds and dice the Serrano chili. Chop the green onions and place both in a bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the cumin and mustard seeds. In another bowl, combine the spice powders. This recipe moves quickly when it comes to the spiced oil, so have all of your mise en place set up.
In a sauté pan heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the cumin and mustard seeds and immediately cover so you don’t get hit with spluttering oil and seeds. Add the turmeric and paprika spices. They should sizzle and bubble a little, that’s the spices blooming and it’s exactly what you want. Do not burn them, 30 seconds tops as you shake the pan back and forth slightly. Pour into a dish and set aside.