Monday, December 10, 2012

Spinach Dal

Dal is one of my favorite Indian meals. It's pretty much composed of beans and water, making it ridiculously easy to cook, and you can add anything you want to make it flavorful. Unfortunately, I also forget how easy it is, and then forget to make it again for a long time. Now that I've written down this recipe, that won't be happening.

Spousal Unit and I were feeling very tired last evening after some marginally successful Christmas shopping. We were happy with all the snow we got, but chilled, too, and the only idea I had for dinner was jasmine rice. (Seriously, we were just going to eat jasmine rice for dinner.) Then I remembered the red lentils I bought, and a meal was born. It was the perfect follow-up to a game of Scrabble, and it warmed us, woke us up, and gave us energy to cheer the Packers to their 22nd victory over the Lions at Lambeau.

As with many Indian dishes, I highly recommend topping this with garam masala, a spice mix that adds just the right flavors. My recipe below was adapted from The Vegetarian Table: India by Yamuna Devi.

Spinach Dal
1 c. red lentils
1 1/2 tsp.  ginger
3/4 tsp. dried minced onion (or 1/3 c. fresh)
1 T olive oil/butter
1 tsp. salt (to taste)
4 c. water
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 c. spinach, shredded
Jasmine rice

Rinse lentils until water runs clear or you get bored. (Seriously, this is what I did.) In medium saucepan, combine lentils with ginger onion, oil/butter, salt, pepper, and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until lentils break down and a sauce forms (about 30-40 min). Add water if it gets low before lentils break down, or if you want a thinner sauce.

Add crushed garlic and spinach. Cook an additional 5 minutes; serve over rice with garam masala.

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