January 9, 2007
With the meme completed, I have turned my attention to more important things. Like keeping my New Years’ resolution.
As promised, I have started trawling the blogosphere for easy Indian recipes to try out and then write about.
My first port of call was Asha, who writes about food and life. She has been married for more than twenty years and you can almost picture her smiling when you read her blogs. A winner if I can spot one.
The recipe I chose was for a North Indian spinach and lentils or dhal palak. The interesting thing here is that while most dhals are soupy in texture (some thicker than others), this dish is more like a vegetable side. It would be lovely with thick bread or as an accompaniment to pork chops.
I made some small adjustments to Asha’s recipe to make it quicker. I used ready frozen chopped spinach because I always have some in the freezer and it can be a healthier option. I also didn’t use mustard seeds and curry leaves in the tempering or tarka because I didn’t think the dish needed it and because these ingredients aren’t commonly used in North Indian cooking.
Once I’d cooked it, I was bowled over. This recipe should have come with a warning – it is seriously moreish. Especially in this cold weather.
400 gms frozen spinach, cooked in the microwave
125 gm toor lentils
125 gms channa lentils
2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
1 large onion, chopped
1 large tomato, quartered
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cummin powder
Half tsp chilli powder
Half tsp garam masala
1 tsp sunflower oil
1 tsp ghee
2 whole red chillies
1 tsp cummin seeds
Wash the lentils thoroughly, fill a pot with water and bring the lentils to a boil. Keep boiling gently to cook them until soft but not mushy.
In the meantime, heat the sunflower oil. Fry the onions until brown and then add the ginger and garlic, dry spices and tomato. Fry untilthe mixture or masala do not smell raw and pungent.
Add the spinach,along with any melted water when it cooked and simmer on a medium flame. When the lentils are soft, add them to the spinach mixture and cook for another 15 minutes until the lentils start losing their shape. You may need to add some water to help them cook.
When the lentils start reaching the right consistency, heat the ghee in a small pan and make the tempering or tarka. When the ghee is hot add the cummin seeds and the whole red chillies. They will sizzle up, and as they do, pour the tarka into the spinach and lentil mixture.
Add salt to taste. Voila!