Costco Samples have a magical way of influencing our eating habits. On a routine shopping trip my daughter tried a sample cup of Tasty Bites Madras Lentils—and proceeded to talk about them the entire trip. I reluctantly conceded and went back to purchase the package of pouches—thinking I’d be lucky to use just half of them. Within a week my kids had devoured these super nutritious and tasty lentil packages. If you’ve never tried this before, it’s based on a famous Indian dish called dal makhani, but the Tasty Bites version has been simplified for the western palate – it’s very much like your standard bean chili with a slight kick from the kashmiri chilli powder and added richness from the butter and cream.
As a diehard do-it-yourselfer , I began playing with ways of replicating this delicious dish to much success. In fact—most of the ingredients are quite basic and are probably in your pantry right now! The only two items I had to order was Whole Black Gram Lentils (purchase here) and Kashmiri Chilli Powder (purchase here). The black gram lentils are quite different from green, red or beluga lentils, they hold their shape well and stand up to the same cooking time as the red kidney beans, so these can’t be substituted. Kashmiri Chilli Powder is a bright red mild chilli powder, adds great flavor and color to this dish. My kids love having it with Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan or you can also serve it over basmati rice for a delicious high protein vegetarian meal.