Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In a beanery

The family has christened this recipe "Indian Beans." Fair enough, since I changed it enough that it is really no longer Toor Dal, at all, although I started with that recipe from my "A Little Taste of India" cookbook. (Real Toor Dal, according to the book, would be based on yellow lentils; use something called kokum instead of oranges to impart a tart, fruity flavor to the lentils; start with whole spices to be ground and roasted, and have curry leaves and jaggery and fresh cilantro. None of those were around in my kitchen!)

Impressively, the whole family except one notoriously picky person enjoyed it, and we even had A's friend over for dinner, and he claimed to like it. He ate it, at least.

This is a super earthy dish, rich with spices without being spicy-hot. It's very nice for the still-cold weather up here! We served it with rice, this egg curry, fat-free Greek yogurt standing in for real raita, and sliced oranges. Not too shabby. I ate the leftovers (pictured here) with roasted mushrooms and orange slices.

Indian Beans (modified Toor Dal)
2 c lentils
1 small navel orange, not peeled, cut into quarters

2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 small can diced green chilies
1 (14-0z) can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp. molasses, honey or agave syrup

Rinse and pick over lentils. Remove any seeds from orange. Place lentils and orange in a medium sized saucepan. Cover with 4 c. water. Bring to a boil, then simmer, adding more water if needed, for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Remove orange sections and discard. Set lentils aside.

In a large pan, heat oil over low heat. Add the mustard seeds and allow to pop. Add other dry spices and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato and green chilies and cook 2-3 minutes. Add the sweetening of your choice, then stir in the lentils. Bring to a simmer and cook another 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

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