Wednesday, October 17, 2012

vegan mofo :: hello, dal! and contest winner

Dal-licious. I love lentils and I love bad puns.
Dal [or dahl] is a creamy split lentil stew. It can be made from brown, red or yellow lentils, and it's a staple in India, Nepal and environs– and in Indian restaurants on this side of the pond. While traveling in those countries, I lived on dal since it's one of the few foods that is usually ghee-free. Dal is often eaten with a bread like roti, or over rice. It's also wonderful all by itself: subtly spicy and warming on a chilly fall evening.

Dal tastes complex owing to the exotic spices used, but really, it's pathetically easy to make, in line with my Vegan MoFo them of going Back to Basics. And talk about simple ingredients: If you have lentils, onion, some Indian spices and perhaps a veggie or two, you've got yourself a meal. Oh, and ginger. But you already know that you can freeze a piece of ginger for an eternity, so that's a non-issue. Dal is traditionally made with split lentils, but I've made it successfully with whole lentils, too.

A bit pot of dreamy, dreamy dal. Easy to make. Easier to eat.
I grabbed a lovely bunch of chard at the market the other day. It was starting to wilt, so I thought I'd chop it up and toss it in the dal; I'm so glad I did. It added color and that characteristically sweet chard flavor. I used a mixture of yellow and orange dal [lentils]. They look so different in the package, but when you cook them, the color becomes unified.

Contest Winner

Before I give you the recipe, it's time to announce the winner of the Vega samples and a signed copy of my second cookbook, Celebrate Vegan.....drumroll....Congratulations  The Unintentional Vegan! Email me with your address, girl!

Recipe: Dal with Chard

This recipe was inspired by some chard that was starting to wilt. You only need a few veggies and some lentils.
  • 1 cup dal/lentils [brown, yellow or red], rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 bunch chard, trimmed and chopped in about 1-inch pieces

Makes 4 servings; serve with roti, vegan naan or rice

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large sauce pan. Add lentils, turmeric, garam masala, and coriander. 

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat oil over medium. Add hot pepper flakes and stir for about 30 seconds. Add ginger, onion, garlic, and salt, and saute until soft, about 2 minutes.

Add to the lentil mixture. Place the chopped chard on top and let it wilt. Stir it into the lentils as it shrinks, then reduce heat to low, and simmer until creamy and lentils are soft, about 1 hour. Almost all the water should be absorbed. This is one of those dishes that tastes better when it cooks slowly over low heat, so make when you have time to putter about the kitchen.

* I'm sure you've all been following news on high levels of arsenic in our rice supply. Here's a great article with suggestions on what you can do.

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Kittee Bee Berns said...

I love dal, too! I didn't eat it too much in South India, as I was too busy stuffing my face with utthapam and sambar at every meal!


Jryad said...

Dal is one of my favorite things. Indian food is the bomb and I enjoy making it whenever I get the chance. Lucky for me, living in New York has given me the option to really experiment and fine tune my vegan cooking.

Thanks for sharing

Joey said...

Chard and lentils may be pretty much two of the finest foodstuffs known to humanity - they were always meant to be together!