'How Low Can You Go' Winner: Dal, Chilean Style

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Dal, Chilean Style i

Dal, Chilean Style Valerie Gaino hide caption

toggle caption Valerie Gaino
Dal, Chilean Style

Dal, Chilean Style

Valerie Gaino

Cook It Yourself

Get the recipe for dal, Chilean style.

See The Original Challenge

Last month, NPR asked professional chefs to submit recipes for a delicious meal for four people that costs less than $10 in the "How Low Can You Go" family supper challenge.

That same challenge was also posed to listeners — and more than 300 people submitted their low-priced dishes. Last week, Michele Norris talked with Kathy Lloyd from Pittsfield, Mass., who submitted a tomato pie.

This week, the winner comes from much farther away: Pichilemu, Chile.

Valerie Gaino submitted a recipe for dal, an Indian dish (also spelled dahl or dhal). But because she learned the recipe in Chile, she calls it "Chilean style." She says a fellow traveler from Tasmania taught it to her six years ago when Gaino was traveling through South America with her husband.

Gaino now lives in Pichilemu, which she says is small, so she uses fresh ingredients at hand for the lentil-based, vegetarian dish.

"I've fed many hungry surfers from all different countries with this dish," Gaino says. "It's easy to make and easy to clean up, and nobody has ever complained."

Gaino spent 3,100 Chilean pesos for the challenge, and the dollar amount could fluctuate depending on the exchange rate. But Gaino calculated it to be $5.53.

Dal, Chilean Style

3 cups of lentils
2 cups of chopped potatoes
2 chopped carrots
3 chopped tomatoes
1 hot pepper
1 small onion chopped
2 gloves garlic chopped
16 ounces tomato sauce
1 tsp cumin
a little beer or sherry
a little red vinegar
olive oil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper

1. Soak and cook lentils till soft. Drain and rinse, set aside.
2. Sautee onions, garlic, hot pepper, and cumin in olive oil. Add beer or sherry.
3. Add potatoes and carrots, cover with water, bring to boil.
4. Add tomatoes and cook till potatoes are soft.
5. Add lentils and tomato sauce.
6. Salt and pepper to taste. (I sometimes add more water or beer if it's too thick, or vinegar if it's too sweet.) Add more cumin or hot sauce if you like it really spicy.
7. Throw in the cilantro, take if off the heat. Serve after a few minutes.



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