Friday, March 7, 2014

Foodie Friday: Dahl is never dull!

Believe it or not, a few years ago when I asked my publisher if I could write a Booktown Cookbook I was told no. They wouldn't know how to market it.  (Huh? What's with that? They're a book company!!!)  Anyway, they've now seen the light and are going to do a cookbook filled with recipes from various cozy mystery series, which will be out in September.


That would be me.)

Of course, that disinterest didn't stop me from writing a cookbook, either. Only I wrote one for my Victoria Square series. (Recipes To Die For.)

I admit it: until recently I've haven't been as interested in cooking as I am in baking. But lately I've taken a BIGGER interest in preparing food from scratch simply because I want to know what is in my food, and processed food is just not good for people. It's full of sugar and salt we don't need if we want to stay healthy.  (And you know what, it's FUN!)

I'm trying to integrate legumes and pulses into my diet. (Lentils are pulses.) I also happen to love Indian food, so earlier this week I made curried lentils (also known as dahl).  OMG -- it was sooo GOOD! Indian food looks scary to prepare because it seems like there are a million ingredients (mostly spices), but I decided I wanted to eat dahl and make it myself.

Here's an easy recipe. I didn't have any garlic cloves or ginger, so I substituted with a teaspoon each of the powdered stuff and it tasted just fine. (Indian food is very forgiving.)

1 tablespoon olive or sesame oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
4 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoon tomato paste
scallions, chopped (Optional as garnish)

In a 3-quart stockpot or other medium-sized soup pot, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.

Stirring constantly, add the water or broth, lentils, spices and salt. Bring to a low boil, then turn down the heat to low, cover and let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are very tender.

Stir in the tomato paste until well combined. Cook for 10-12 minutes more, or until the mixture is the desired temperature and consistency. Serve hot on rice.

Yum! (You better believe I'll be making this on a a regular basis.)

What's your favorite ethnic food?