Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pantry Challenge Day 8 - Green Lentil Dahl and Dosas

Indian-style cooking - and lentils - quickly became staples in our kitchen after we become vegan. The seasonings are bold and aromatic and the textures are rich and satisfying. I am still trying to learn the differences between Northern Indian cooking and Southern Indian cooking. This article provides some interesting reading about regional differences.

I was torn tonight between using the green lentils in the pantry for dahl or for soup. I finally decided that tonight it should be dahl and dosas. I'll detail a curried lentil soup in a later post.

As part of the Pantry Challenge, this recipe is put together based on what I had on hand. It is quick, easy, and nourishing, and can be changed up based on the type of lentils you have, the kinds of vegetables, or the kinds of spices in your cabinet.

Green Lentil Dahl

2 cups green lentils, sorted and rinsed
4 -5 cups water or broth
3 potatoes, cubed
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, diced
2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbs curry powder, more or less to taste
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 cup frozen green peas
Salt to taste

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and fry til they start to pop ("splutter"). Add onion and remaining spices and cook until onion is tranparent, stirring frequently.

Add water/broth, potatoes, carrots, and lentils. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until lentils and vegetables are tender, 25-30 minutes. If it seems too thick, add a bit more water/broth. Add peas and cook for 3-4 more minutes.

Red Lentil and Rice Flatbread (Dosas)

Tonight's red lentil and rice flatbread is based on this vegandad recipe. Unlike the dosas I made in my first post, these are made from scratch. They take a bit longer in terms of preparation and are more substantial.

1/4 cup red lentils
3/4 cup basmati rice
1 cup warm water
1/2 - 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbs dried cilatro or 2 tbs fresh

Place water, lentils, and rice in a small bowl. Cover and allow to soak overnight. (I found that I needed to add another cup of water because it all soaked in.)

Place lentil-rice mixture into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Return to bowl, cover, and allow to ferment overnight.

Add salt, turmeric, pepper, and cilantro to the batter.

Heat a well-seasoned cast rion skillet over medium heat. Brush the pan with oil. Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and spread it out with the back of a spoon. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until pancake looks dry around the edges. Flip and cook for another minute or so. Cover cooked pancakes with a towel while the others are cooking. These do not keep well, so serve immediately.

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