Dal with Vegetables

26 01 2012

Well I just booked a luxury suite at the EconoLodge in beautiful Groton, Connecticut. It comes equipped with desk and lamp. For only fifty dollars!!! Mmmmm lamp. I have no idea what Groton is like or what smells to expect from this motel, but I’m sure it will be a welcome place to lay our heads after me and my friend get back from seeing Motorhead/Megadeth at the Mohegan Sun Casino this Friday. Mmmm Lemmy and gambling.

I wanted to get in at least one new recipe this week so I decided on this one, though it’s very similar to one that I blogged about from the same book a few months back, the lentil bhuja casserole. This has a lot of the same great flavors, minus having to make thousands of infuriating fried lentil balls that would not hold together in oil.

Cauliflower in a creamy tomato sauce is out of this world and the other vegetables just melt in your mouth; a real easy to throw together dinner that you can pack for lunch throughout the rest of the week. I’m going to try stuffing it into some pita bread tomorrow.

Dal with Vegetables
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

2/3 cup yellow lentils (or just brown ones…)
2/3 cup red lentils
1 tb. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tb. fenugreek seeds
2 tsps. ground cumin
2 tsps. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock
2 carrots, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
5 1/2 oz. green beans, trimmed and halved
1/4 cup whipping cream

Rinse the lentils separetely under cold water until the water runs clear, then drain well. If you’re using yellow lentils, place them in a small bowl, cover with water and leave to stand for 30 minutes, then drain well. If you’re using brown lentils, move right along to the next step.

Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan. Sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until the onion is soft.

Add the spices and stir for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add all of the lentils, tomatoes, and stock, stirring well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in the carrot and cauliflower, then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the green beans and cook, covered for a further 5-10 minutes, until the lentils are tender and the vegetables are cooked.

Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you like, serve with some chopped, fresh cilantro and naan bread.

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Lentil Bhuja Casserole

7 03 2011

I’ve taken a crappy picture. I haven’t been updating. I know this. But last night, I decided, I love food, I love these recipes so much and I love getting other people excited about food, so no matter how difficult it is, or how little free time I have, or how damn lazy I feel, I will update. Hoo rah.

This update almost didn’t happen though. And this recipe almost got chalked up to the list of my recent food failures that have gotten angrily hurled out the back sliding door and into the yard (Yogurt muffins, parsnip pancakes). If you can suffer through, and yes, you will suffer, the difficulties of making these sticky little lentil balls, I promise you that it will be well worth the looming threat of a food-induced panic attack. Anyone else get these when a recipe goes wrong? My boyfriend has stories.

After being refrigerated, they will stick together a little bit more and will hold up in the oil as they fry into crispy goodness. But don’t be disappointed if they start to fall apart a bit in the sauce. Lentil balls or lentil mush, the dish is superb. Many different layers of flavor, but doesn’t become overwhelming. Instead, it’s all mellowed out with the creamy tomato sauce. The carrots melt in your mouth and the lentils are extremely filling and satisfying.

Here’s a giant space cat.

Lentil Bhuja Casserole
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

1 1/2 cups green lentils
1 large onion
1 large all-purpose potato
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tb. ginger, grated
1 cup tomato puree
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup whipping cream
7 oz. green beans, trimmed
2 carrots, sliced
Pita bread, for serving

Put the lentils in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak overnight. Drain well and place in a bowl.

Grate the onion and potato, place in a clean dish towel and squeeze to remove any excess moisture. Add to the lentils, along with the spices and flour. Mix well. Using dry hands (OK, this is the most aggravating thing ever. Your hands MUST be dry. Even if that means washing/drying hands after each ball. Or, you can use a tablespoon to scoop out the mixture, and just wipe it down with a towel after each one.) roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls and place on a foil-lined tray. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat about an inch of oil in a pan. Add the lentil balls in small batches and fry over high heat for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Heat another 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and ginger and saute over medium heat for 1 minute, then stir in the tomato puree, stock and cream. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the lentil balls, beans and carrots. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Serve hot with pita bread.