Dal Makhani (Indian Lentil Stew)

One issue I have always had with cooking Asian cuisine is that some of the authentic ingredients are difficult to find/ expensive (kaffir lime leaves anyone?). That being said, this is my version of the famous Indian Dal Makhani, made with accesible ingredients. This is best served over rice, or to be dipped with some delicious naan. If you haven't enjoyed the real thing before, this is essentially a lentil stew, in a rich, creamy, tomato based sauce. It is easy to whip together, full of fiber and protein, and only gets better as a leftover.

Ingredients (enough for 4):
1 tbsp oil
1/8 cup vegan butter, or margarine
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt 
2 bay leaves
1 1/4 tsp of garam masala (easier to find than you think, just check out the spice aisle)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced 
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste 
1/3 cup lentils
1 cup water (you may need to add more, depending on the lentils)

1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup milk alternative
1 tsp sugar

1) Saute the onion, salt and bay leaves in oil and butter until the onion is translucent (about 4 minutes). Add the garam masala and chili powder, sauteing for an additional minute. Add the ginger, garlic, tomatoes, stirring to combine. Once combined, add the paste, water, and lentils. Allow to simmer until the lentils are cooked (about 15-20 minutes). Add more water to cook the lentils, if necessary.
2) Whisk together the milk, sugar and lemon juice until it begins to thicken slightly. Add the thickened milk to the makhani, stirring to combine. Serve over rice, or with naan. Enjoy!

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