Recipe: indian dal
I hope you all had a good weekend. I think I had a good one, assuming I can remember everything that’s been happening. Perhaps that is why I take so many photographs – to jog my crappy memory? Our lecture/workshop at Denver Botanic Gardens was great. We had a lively and fun crew at the cooking workshop on Friday – really engaging and wonderful people. Todd and Diane taught how to make their signature amazing Viet spring rolls, Manisha demoed onion fritters with two chutneys and chai, and I made Chinese scallion pancakes.
sarah of dbg welcomes everyone
sniffing herbs that todd and diane brought from their garden
introduction to more herbs
There was plenty of nibbling and sampling of the goodies as well as laughs. I love workshops that have great participants because I think they are the other (very important) half of the equation. First, you need a great team running the show and then you need enthusiastic, friendly, and hard working people on the receiving end. They give back too. It’s all a give and take. That’s what makes it so special and ultimately rewarding for me.
diane schools us on nuoc cham while todd crushes garlic
mmmm, spring rolls!
manisha mixes the onions to make fritters
just pick up a small amount and drop it in the hot oil
After a jam-packed exhausting 24 hours, Todd and Diane came to our place (after we dined at The Pinyon – AMAZING dinner) to spend some time with Kaweah. We have a lot of visitors lined up this month, so Kaweah is getting pretty spoiled. But I think she especially loves Todd and Diane, which makes sense because they are two of my most favorite people on this good planet.
she’s not even supposed to be on the couch
I had signed up for a canning class at Escoffier Boulder (formerly Culinary School of the Rockies) almost two months ago. I’ve been wanting to learn to can properly at my altitude for several months now – always looking longingly at 1) all of the great produce coming out of friends’ gardens and 2) all of the canning my friends did with their bounties. At long last I could learn how to do it safely. The home cook classes at Escoffier are awesome. My fellow students were all spunky and eager to learn which made it doubly terrific.
my partner prepping beets
cutting pears for the pear and vanilla bean jam
tomatoes to be turned into basil garlic tomato sauce
into the hot water bath
pickled beets, ftw!!
Before I embark on my next trip (in less than 7 hours), I have to talk about a recent addition to my soup repertoire. They are predicting a snowstorm this week at home while I’ll be turning back the clock on fall and shooting colors elsewhere. There is nothing I love more in winter than to curl up with a hot bowl of soup after a good ski. I really dig on salads in summer, soups in winter. Sandwiches are a year-round affair (and I do mean affair as in love affair). One soup that I’ve been craving of late is dal.
red lentils (dal)
shake them out on a baking sheet to pick out imposters
Ever since I overcame my activation potential to learn to make Indian food, I’ve been picking my way through a few favorites when I’ve found a rare spare moment. Dal is red lentils. It is also the name of this lentil dish. I’ve seen it range from a thick stew-like consistency to a soup. Manisha told me that she likes her dal to be practically disintegrating, and that’s how I like mine too.
olive oil, tomatoes, dal, onion, garlic, ginger, spices, and a jalapeño in hiding
diced, minced, grated, soaked
I had no idea how straightforward this recipe was. I’ve made dal several times in the past couple of months – double batches – and we never tire of it. It’s totally satisfying to eat on its own or with some garlic naan.
sauté garlic, ginger, onions, and spices
add everything else
The recipe from Whole Foods calls for vegetable broth, but I’ve seen many other versions use water. I tried it with the water and you know what? It has plenty of flavor. I really don’t think there is the need for broth, but go with your gut. I doubled the amount of liquid so I could enjoy my dal soupy. Some lemon juice at the end really brightens the whole thing. Dal puts a rosy glow on my face.
lemon juice to taste
soup is on!
from Whole Foods Market
2 cups red lentils
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsps finely chopped ginger
4 cups vegetable broth or water (I used water and doubled it to 8 cups for a soupy dal)
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes, with juice
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp ground turmeric
salt to taste
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1 lemon, juice of
Pour lentils out onto a large shallow baking sheet and pick out any stones or random stuff. Rinse and drain the lentils. In a large pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until they are soft, about 5 minutes, then add the cumin seeds, cardamom, garlic, and ginger. Stir together while cooking for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Pour in the remaining ingredients except for the lemon juice. If you want a stew-like dal then use 4 cups of liquid (vegetable broth or water). If you prefer a soupier dal like I do, then use 8 cups of liquid. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils are soft, stirring frequently. I like to let it cook for 30 minutes, because I prefer lentils that are disintegrating. Stir in the lemon juice before serving. Serves 6-8.