Thursday, May 14, 2009

Super Simple Dal

Allow me to apologize for not posting a picture with this recipe- there was just so much going on last night that photographs were an afterthought...

That being said, if you've eaten Indian food, you already know about this dish. Dal is a basic lentil dish with a tomato base- it's hearty, and has a protein boost! Instead of the traditional basmati rice accompaniment, I've used quinoa instead, and cooked it with a teaspoon of turmeric for some extra color. Some people fuss over what spices to mix in- I keep it simple and add hot curry powder (you can use mild if you can't take the heat!) and garam masala- it's a wonderful blend of spices like cardamom, cloves, black cumin, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, ginger, and bay leaves. If that doesn't incorporate most of the fantastic flavors of Indian food, I don't know what does!

The Whats:

* 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 small onion, finely diced
* 5 large tomatoes on the vine, diced
* 1 can red lentils, drained and rinsed
* 2 tsp. hot curry powder
* 2 tsp. turmeric
* 1 tbsp garam masala
* 1 cup quinoa

The Hows:

1) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic and a pinch of hot curry powder; cook for about 5 minutes, or just before onions start to caramelize.

2) Add the diced tomatoes to the pan; stir together with the spices. Cook over medium-low heat for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, or until the mix is more sauce-like in consistency.

3) While sauce is cooking, rinse quinoa in a strainer with cold water to remove bitter-tasting saponins on the outside- though the quinoa you'll find in your supermarket has probably already been processed to remove the saponins, you'll want to give these a rinse just in case. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil; add quinoa. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook quinoa for about 15 minutes, or until water has been absorbed and quinoa is softened; remove from heat. If using, place a teaspoon of turmeric in the quinoa for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

4) Once the sauce is ready, stir lentils into the sauce. Cook for an additional ten minutes; lentil-tomato mixture should be thick. Serve hot over quinoa.

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