Red Lentil Dal

dried_red_lentil1

This is a fabulous version of dal. The original recipe used yellow split peas but I have red lentils, so that’s what I used. And, I used my pressure cooker, because it makes cooking beans so quick and easy.

I don’t usually chop onions using a food processor, but in this recipe, it works perfectly. You don’t need a nice looking dice. The onions cook long enough that they will melt right into the lentils.

You can serve this as a side dish or as a main dish. It’s great over brown rice. Or white rice- but I love the chewiness of brown rice with the mushy lentils.

Red Lentil Dal
(serves 6-8)

1 cup red lentils, rinsed
3 cups water
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (such as Rotel™ brand)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 onion, chopped finely
5 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup minced cilantro (fresh or frozen)
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2-1 teaspoon kosher salt

Cover the lentils in cold water and soak for an hour. Drain the lentils, rinse again, and place in the pressure cooker. Add 3 cups of water and the diced tomatoes (no need to drain them). Lock the lid in place, bring to pressure, and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. [If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can cook them on the stove for 45-60 minutes, until they are quite soft.]

While the lentils are cooking, heat up the oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook them until they begin to brown, about a minute. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the onions and garlic. Cook until they are a nice toasty brown. This will take a while, about the amount of time it takes to cook the lentils in a pressure cooker. Add the coriander, turmeric, and cayenne. Stir to combine the spices with the onions. Remove from heat.

When the lentils are done, release the pressure and remove the lid. Add the onions, minced cilantro, butter, and salt. Stir to combine and melt the butter. Serve as a side dish or over rice as a vegetarian main dish.

Adapted from a recipe for “Everyday Yellow Dal” in 5 Spices, 50 Dishes by Ruta Kahate, Chronicle Books, 2007.

Photo: By Mytinytank (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Advertisements

Cauliflower and Peas, Indian-Style

Snow peas and French bush beans in my garden

Sugar snap peas are currently in season in Boulder. You can get them at the farmers’ market. They are always available at my favorite Asian market, Pacific Ocean in Broomfield, or at my local Costco. And most years, I can get them from my garden. I love sugar snap peas which is why I grow them every year. Even though, they take up a fair bit of space, require a lot of water and sun, and some years yield a disappointing amount of peas. But, I persevere in growing them. Because I do love them!

This recipe is adapted from the NY Times. As it turns out, cauliflower has gone on sale this week, which makes this a double win.

As with other stir-fries, it’s important to have your ingredients prepped and measured before you start (what we chefs call mise-en-place). Stir fries happen fast and you can’t be chopping or measuring things as you go.

Stir-fried Curried Cauliflower and Peas
(serves 4)

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 ½ pounds cauliflower (about ½ a large head), cut into florets
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons grated ginger
1 medium jalapeno chile, sliced thinly (if you want less spice, remove the seeds)
3 Kaffir lime leaves (optional)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ pound sugar snap peas or snow peas, stems and strings removed
2 scallions, cut into 2″ julienne
juice of ½ a lime
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok with a cover over medium-high heat. Add cumin and black mustard seeds and cook until the mustard seeds start to pop. Partially cover because once they start to pop, they will start shooting all over the place! Add the turmeric and stir for 15 seconds. Add the cauliflower, garlic, ginger, chile, lime leaves (if using), salt, and black pepper to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir often to avoid burning. Add the peas, stir, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook for 5 more minutes until peas are crisp-tender. Stir in scallions, lime juice, and cilantro. Check for salt. Serve immediately.