This weekend was quite a busy one… Friday night was my mom’s retirement party and a friend’s 30th birthday party. I had a meeting Saturday morning and then spent a good chunk of the day hanging out with a college friend in Red Wing before heading over to another friend’s house for movie night. Today I had a four hour long feminist activist meeting. It’s been an enjoyable and productive weekend, but I didn’t have a ton of time to cook, so I was glad to have bookmarked this lentil spread some time ago – it’s perfect for busy days/weekends because it takes very little time to prepare.
Indian Spiced Lentil Sandwich Spread
- 1 cup cooked lentils, mashed (pink lentils cook very quickly; brown and green take a bit longer)
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock or broth
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a small pan and cook for 5 minutes.
Add as much vegetable stock/broth as you need to get it all to stick together so you can use it on a sandwich. You can eat this warm or chill it. This was delicious with a bit of spicy mustard and spinach on top, but feel free to use whatever suits your fancy.
Source: Adapted from Food.com
Well, it’s officially fall (almost winter!) here in Minnesota. The last few days have been chilly and rainy, and we’ve even had a few snowflakes fall. While I’m not a fan of the weather, it is great for making and eating soup. You can stay inside prepping ingredients and cooking all day and then enjoy the end product – tasty and warm – in the coziness of your home.
I looked through the few cookbooks I own many times this week, trying to find a recipe that not only sounded good but that used mostly ingredients I had on hand (grocery shopping in cold, rainy weather is no fun). I decided to try the recipe below because it sounded super easy and served as an opportunity to try my hand at making another Indian dish.
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground tumeric
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 1/2 cups masoor dal (aka pink lentils)
- 9 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp plus one tsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro leaves
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring continuously, until well browned.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.
- Add the remaining oil and the ground coriander, cumin, tumeric, paprika, and cayenne. Cook for about one minute.
- Add the dal and the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the dal has reached a consistency that you like.
- Stir in the lemon juice and the cilantro, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
This is a great soup to warm you up and help clear the sinuses.
Source: Adapted from It’s All American Food by David Rosengarten
Though I didn’t eat much Indian food until after I started college, I’ve grown to love it. I remember the first time I ate at Chapati in Northfield, while I was a student at St. Olaf College. The mango lassi was delicious and the entrees were pretty good, too. I’ve been hooked ever since. I just happened to find a pretty simple recipe for chana masala in a book I was reading and decided to give it a shot.
Makes 4 servings.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander (I ground up coriander seeds, as that’s what I had)
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon garam masala, plus more for serving, if desired
- 3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 1 tsp salt
- one 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped; more for serving, if desired
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed, with any stray skins removed
- 1/3 cup yogurt (optional addition at the end; omit to make recipe vegan)
- lemon wedges (optional addition at the end)
- Heat olive oil in dutch oven or another large pan. Add onion, and cook until caramelized. I am terrible at this – my onions usually end up browned/burnt. I place some of the blame on my stove, that seems to think low heat = medium, and medium heat = burn everything in the pan. Here’s a helpful slideshow if you too struggle to create perfectly caramelized onions.
- Reduce heat to low, and add the garlic, cumin, coriander, ginger, garam masala, cardamom pods, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
- Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water has evaporated.
- Pour in the juice from the can of tomatoes, then pour in the tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands as you do so. Beware of squirting tomatoes! I made a bit of a mess when I started breaking up the first tomato. Be sure to get rid of any tough parts, too, like the area near where the stem was attached. I like bigger chunks of tomato, but if you don’t you can always mash them up with a fork or potato masher.
- Raise the heat, if needed, to bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust the heat so everything’s a-simmerin’, then add the pepper flakes and cilantro. Cook, stirring as needed, until the mixture starts to thicken.
- Add the chickpeas, and mix well. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add 2 tablespoons of water. Cook for 5 minutes longer, then add another 2 tablespoons of water. Cook for another 5 minutes.*
- Stir in the yogurt if desired (it got a little weird looking at this point – probably some curdling action going on), or squeeze some lemon juice over the dish. I personally think it tastes fine without any additions, but feel free to do whatever suits your fancy. Top with a bit of cilantro and a sprinkle of garam masala, if desired.
*The original recipe notes that this process of adding water and cooking it off “helps concentrate the sauce’s flavor and makes the chickpeas more tender and toothsome.”
One goal that I have with this cooking blog is to push myself to try cooking new things, particularly more dishes from different cultures (Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, etc). I think the onigiri I made last month and this chana masala are a good start; I’m excited about the possibilities.
Source: Adapted from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenburg, the culinary genius behind the Orangette blog