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Posts Tagged ‘Dal’

Bought a cauliflower this morning. There wasn’t a lot of choice–it’s freezing cold and the local growers’ produce is limited.

What to do with it?

I flick through this cook book and that–then suddenly remember comfort lentils from Delicious Dishes for Diabetics.

COMFORT is the key word.

Outside it’s damp and cold–so comfort food that acts as an interior blanket is just what I need.

I search the index for “cauliflower“.

Aha! Cauliflower with mustard seeds and fennel seeds–inspired by Madhur Jaffrey.

YES!

Double comfort!!

A fire in the grate and the evening holds promise!

COMFORT LENTIL DAL

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Rinse thoroughly a pound of red lentils–until the water runs clear.

Add two vegetable stock cubes to a litre of water and bring to the simmer.

Add the lentils.

Cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked–about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile chop a medium onion and in a separate pan color it gently in four tablespoons of olive oil .

Then stir in these spices:

One and half teaspoons cumin powder; one teaspoon coriander powder; half teaspoon cayenne powder; and (if you have it) one teaspoon garam masala.

Cook the onion in the spices for a couple of minutes and then stir this mix into the lentils.

Gently reheat the dal.

Check for salt.

Comforting…

CAULIFLOWER with FENNEL and MUSTARD SEEDS

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Deconstruct a large cauliflower into bite size pieces.

Heat six tablespoons of olive oil in a pan (large enough to hold the cauliflower in a single layer–more or less–but don’t add the cauliflower yet!).

Add a tablespoon of black mustard seeds and two teaspoons of fennel seeds.

When they start to pop–add three garlic cloves chopped fine.

When they start to color add a quarter teaspoon each of turmeric and cayenne powder.

Cook these briefly to release their aroma–and then stir in the cauliflower pieces.

Turn these thoroughly in the spicy oil and add four tablespoons of warm water.

Add a decent pinch of salt and cook covered until the cauliflower is tender–about 20 minutes.

These two comforting friends make good partners for a chilly winter night.

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Meredith, who used to think that cauliflower was a pointless vegetable, had seconds!

 

 

 

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I published this recipe on the blog early on and am revisiting it tonight by special request.

It has been a favorite for over 30 years chez nous, and is a tasty standby for a rainy, grey day when going anywhere for supplies is the last thing you feel like doing.

Meredith, on her detox for a week, requested this dish, so we’re having it tonight with broccoli, (simply steamed, drizzled with olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon) and a some brown basmati rice.

It’s an Indian  Dal-but known in our house as ‘comfort lentils’.

This is from my first cook book Delicious Dishes for Diabetics.

for 4

500 g/1 lb red lentils

1 litre/1¾ pints/4 cups stock (I use an organic vegetable stock cube per 500 ml of water)

4 tbsp vegetable oil (I use olive oil.)

1 medium onion – chopped

1 tsp coriander seeds – pounded in a mortar and pestle

1½ tsp cumin seeds – pounded in a mortar and pestle

1 tsp garam masala

½ tsp chilli powder

  • Rinse the lentils very thoroughly – until the water shows clear.
  • Put them in a saucepan with the stock and bring gently to the boil.
  • Turn the heat down to low and let them simmer, covered, stirring from time to time.
  • They are done when a small puddle floats on the top.
  • Turn them off.
  • Heat the oil in a small frying pan.
  • Add the onion and fry gently until it colours nicely.
  • Add the spices and mix them in well.
  • Cook for a couple of minutes longer to release the aroma.
  • Add the cooked spices and the onion to the lentils and mix in thoroughly.
  • Heat through and serve.

Our Sikh friend, Tari, affectionately dubbed the ‘Carefree Cook’,  never panics when people turn up unexpectedly at mealtime. He looks to see how many extra guests are coming through the door and adds more water to the dal accordingly!

If there is dal left over, save it for another occasion! Form the cold dal into little burger shapes, coat with some chickpea or whole wheat flour and fry lightly in some hot oil.

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Meredith has been doing the shopping the last few days as I  stay in the warm and “get better” from a viral cold.

I’m beginning to think this is a great idea.

She comes through the door saying: ‘Here’s your Ready, Steady, Cook!* challenge tonight!’

A large bag of Brussels sprouts was one of the items a couple of days ago.

I looked in Health Eating for Life–I’m cooking from my new book!–and spotted this recipe.

In the book the recipe calls for cabbage–but I thought brussels would be a workable substitute.

The original recipe in Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Vegetarian Cookery and was adapted by Rose Elliot. I have tweaked it a bit further….

It was more-ish and insulating on a “naughty December night” and would have been even better if we’d remembered the lemon!

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for 4

250gms/8oz red lentils

2 1/4 pints/1300ml stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes

1/3 tsp turmeric

375gms/12oz tinned tomatoes–chopped into a mush

Rinse the lentils thoroughly.

Put them in a saucepan with the stock and the turmeric and bring up to the boil.

Cook at a gentle simmer for 45 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, then set aside.

1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tbsp curry powder

onion–chopped

12oz brussels sprouts–outer leaves removed and halved

Juice of half a lemon

salt and pepper

parsley chopped to sprinkle over

Heat the oil in a new pan.

Add the mustard seeds and cook them until they start to pop–a couple of minutes.

Mix in the curry powder and let them cook for a few seconds.

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Add the onion and the sprouts and mix everything together well.

Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the sprouts and onions to the lentils.

Bring the mixture up to the simmer.

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Leave it simmering gently for 20 minutes.

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Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in the lemon juice.

Sprinkle over the parsley (which we also forgot!)

It’s best served hot.

* Ready, Steady, Cook is a half hour TV show that pits two chefs, each with a member of the audience as sous chefs, against each other and the clock to cook from scratch the random contents of a bag of shopping.

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Meredith tells me the first time she became aware of lentils, was at the age of 35! They had not been part of her experience growing up in suburban Chicago in the fifties.

One of the first things I cooked for her was a dish I call “comfort lentils” (it’s in my cookbook Delicious Dishes for Diabetics).

Much has changed–Indian restaurants are common place now in the US.

Indian and Chinese restaurants and “take-aways” (my equivalent of MacDonalds–first outlet opened in the UK in 1974!) featured regularly in my life at college and in provincial theatre.

Affordable and open late–just the ticket!

This recipe is hands on for the first half hour or so, as it builds in the taste.

Then it chugs along on a low heat for fifty minutes as the lentils dissolve and the dal forms.

The finish involves sautéing a small amount of onion, garlic and dried red pepper to stir into the mix to lift it.

It’s adapted from a recipe in Ismail Merchant’s excellent and quirky cookbook Indian Cuisine.

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8oz red lentils–rinsed until the water runs clear

1 small onion–chopped

2 tblsps olive oil

a short stick of cinnamon

1 tsp fresh ginger–grated

250ml/1/2 pint stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes

250ml/1/2 pint hot water

1 tsp cayenne pepper

juice and the shells of a lemon

to finish:

2 tblsps olive oil

1/2 small onion–sliced

1 garlic clove–chopped

1 tsp salt

1 small dried red chili–chopped

Cook the onion over a low heat in the oil until it is opaque–about five minutes.

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Add the lentils, cinnamon and the ginger and mix in.

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Cook these  together gently for about ten minutes, keeping the heat low and stirring from time to time to avoid them sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.

A nutty aroma starts to rise from the darkening lentils, as they cook.

Add the stock and hot water, cayenne and salt.

Bring to the simmer.

Cook on gently for a further ten minutes, then add the lemon juice and the empty lemon halves and stir it all together.

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Cover the pan and continue cooking on a very low heat–use a heat diffuser if necessary–for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.

In a small frying pan heat the tablespoon of olive oil and add the sliced onion.

Let this color for five minutes over a medium heat.

Add the chili and the sliced garlic and continue cooking until the garlic begins to brown.

Add this to the lentils and mix it in.

We ate it yesterday as an accompaniment to spicy marinaded chicken breasts–(recipe soon).

It’ll taste even better today!

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This was published a couple of years ago.

It has been a favorite for over thirty years and is a tasty standby for a rainy grey day when going anywhere for supplies is the last thing you feel like doing.

Meredith on her detox for a week mentioned it this morning and we’ll have it tonight, as below, with some of the broccoli I bought yesterday and brown basmati rice.

Dal-otherwise known as Comfort Lentils in our house.

This is from my book Delicious Dishes for Diabetics-out in the UK and officially launched November 1st in the USA.

Our Sikh friend, Tari, affectionately known as the “Carefree Cook”, is an example to all us worry guts.

He never panics when people turn up unexpectedly and have to be fed.

He looks to see how many extra guests are coming through the door and adds more water to the dal accordingly!

We’ll eat these lentils tonight with broccoli, simply steamed, drizzled with a little olive oil (maybe a squeeze of lemon?) and a some brown basmati rice.

[If there’s any dal left over, save it for another occasion! Form the cold dal into little burger shapes, coat with some chickpea or whole wheat flour and fry lightly in some hot oil.]

for 4

500 g/1 lb red lentils

1 litre/1¾ pints/4 cups stock (I use an organic vegetable stock cube per 500 ml of water)

4 tbsp vegetable oil (I use olive oil.)

1 medium onion – chopped

1 tsp coriander seeds – pounded in a mortar and pestle

1½ tsp cumin seeds – pounded in a mortar and pestle

1 tsp garam masala

½ tsp chilli powder

  • Rinse the lentils very thoroughly – until the water shows clear.
  • Put them in a saucepan with the stock and bring gently to the boil.
  • Turn the heat down to low and let them simmer, covered, stirring from time to time.
  • They are done when a small puddle floats on the top.
  • Turn them off.
  • Heat the oil in a small frying pan.
  • Add the onion and fry gently until it colours nicely.
  • Add the spices and mix them in well.
  • Cook for a couple of minutes longer to release the aroma.
  • Add the cooked spices and the onion to the lentils and mix in thoroughly.
  • Heat through and serve.

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