Have you tried any of these recipes?

Have you tried any of these recipes? If you have, please leave a comment to let me know how it worked for you and if you suggest any changes!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dal and Raita

A version of this meal was made for me the other night and two of my favorite things to eat in the winter are warm lentils and yogurt. So, I tried it out today - with the wrong kinds of lentils and without the exact ingredients. My recipe for these dishes might change as I learn how they're supposed to be made, but this is pretty tasty for now!

  • 10 oz bag of lentils (I used sprouted green lentils)
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 3.5 tsp cumin
  • 3.5 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • 6 oz or so of plain, greek-style yogurt
  • 1/3 cucumber
  • 1/3 fresh tomato
  • Water
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large chili pepper
  1. Rinse the lentils and throw them in a pot. Cover with water and set to boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Chop the onions finely and add all but 2 Tbsp to the pot. Add water to cover the lentils again and continue cooking.
  3. Add the diced tomato and stir, covering with water again while the lentils continue cooking.
  4. Add the dry spices (reserving 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds) and stir.
  5. Finely chop the garlic, ginger and chili and add to the pot, stirring and covering with water.
  6. Cover the pot mostly and turn down the heat to low. Stir every 15 minutes and add more water if necessary.
  7. Meanwhile, finely chop the cucumber, tomato and a bit of the cilantro and stir into the yogurt. Add the remaining 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds and stir. Cover and refrigerate for later.
  8. Continue cooking the lentil mixture over low heat, partially covered for an hour and a half. You will need to stir it every 15 minutes and add more water as it boils off and is absorbed by the lentils.
  9. When it is finished cooking, stir in the butter and add the remaining cilantro, chopped.
  10. Turn on a fan and open the windows, this hearty dish has a lingering aroma!
  11. Serve with naan and the raita for a healthy and delicious meal.
When I first had this, it was served also with potatoes and a delicious rice, but I haven't figured out how to make this yet, so I can only recommend eating it the way I am going to eat it tonight!
For an idea on how to use this as part of a meal, check out this Indian Food menu.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Quasi-Indian-Food Experiment

One of my favorite aspects of cooking is to come up with recipes on the fly based on what I have in the house, and a general knowledge of a type of cuisine. When I cook for myself on a daily basis, I might throw together an Asian-style stir-fry, or a Thai curry, or an Italian vegetable dish or a Mexican type of breakfast. However, I have never been able to cook Indian food that way - or any way at all, really.

Recently though, a friend had me over for dinner and cooked Indian food and was generous enough to talk about what went into the dishes he prepared. Though I do need to get myself over to a spice shop and pick up a few necessary ingredients, here is my first (nay - second) attempt. (The first attempt just tasted like spinach.) This one, however, was GOOD.

Quite healthy and green
Experimental cooking
Now, try it yourself!


  • Cumin (powdered, though seeds are preferred)
  • Ginger (powdered, though fresh is preferred)
  • Turmeric
  • Fenugreek seed
  • Cilantro (dried, though fresh would be better)
  • Red Pepper (powdered, not flaked)
  • Garlic (powdered, because I was out of fresh)
  • Onion, chopped
  • One potato
  • Spinach, chopped
  • Arugula
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Naan (Why not? It was in the house.)
  • Butter
  • Olive or canola oil
  1. Melt the butter over low-medium heat. Add a little oil and heat one minute.
  2. Add the spices - all of them and mix, inhaling, because it will smell good.
  3. Add the onion and cook two minutes while microwaving the potato for the same amount of time.
  4. Cube the potato and add to the mix. Stir. Maybe add a little more olive oil and another dose of all the spices.
  5. Add the spinach and stir.
  6. Add the arugula and stir. Cook for three minutes longer.
  7. Remove entire contents of pan to a plate and enjoy with a side of yogurt and a piece of naan. Or a tortilla.
I need mustard seeds. And cumin seeds. And another example dinner to learn from!

I'll follow up with a recipe you can actually follow once I've tried this a few more times.
For ideas on how to use this as part of a meal, check out this Indian Food Menu.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mashed Potatoes Primavera

I'm eating this dish right now, as I blog. So, please excuse the occasional "yum" that slips out! Yum.

Occasionally, when I'm teaching, a small part of my brain is going over the foods and spices I have in the house and rearranging them into the delicious meal I will cook when I get home. That was the case today, and rather than make a typical, though tasty stir fry, I came up with this delicious, colorful, and hearty meal. I credit the inspiration to the fact that the wine I have at home just wouldn't be right with a stir fry.

Happy, delighted
Productive and healthy too!

  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 piece shallot, chopped
  • Basket of grape tomatoes (or the equivalent of any other tomato)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 handful chopped spinach
  • 2 baking potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • water
  • 1/2 cup cabernet
  • Parmesan, or other similar cheese
  • Butter - just enough, according to the day you have had
  1. Over medium heat, heat wok or large skillet for one minute. Add olive oil and heat one minute more. Add onion and heat two minutes more, while chopping garlic.
  2. Add garlic, and heat while chopping shallot. Boil small-medium pot of water enough to cover two potatoes. Peel and chop the potatoes for quicker cooking.
  3. Add shallot and tomatoes. Heat while chopping cauliflower. Add potato pieces to boiling water.
  4. To the wok, add cauliflower, and cover, cooking 5 minutes, or until cauliflower is soft (those of you who know me, know I like my cauliflower a little overcooked). Chop the carrots.
  5. Add carrots, water, wine, rosemary, thyme and red pepper. Cover and cook 5 minutes, or until tender. Chop the broccoli.
  6. Add broccoli and cover, cooking 5 minutes, or until tender. Chop the spinach.
  7. Add spinach, and cover, cooking until you're ready to eat. At the same time, drain the potato and return to the pot, adding butter to taste, any additional rosemary and mashing.
  8. In a low-bowl, dish up the mashed potatoes, and top with vegetable mixture. Grate cheese on top, and enjoy immediately. Luckily, you have the rest of the bottle of wine to enjoy with it!
* All vegetables may be replaced with whatever you have in your fridge.
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