Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Indian-inspired dinner

Okay, I'll get that top picture out of the way right away. People sometimes ask me how I cook so much with small children in the house. That picture provides one of the answers: those are brown mustard seeds that Anne was playing with while I cooked. You wouldn't believe how long she enjoyed those for . . . or how long it took me to clean up afterward. This was about three weeks ago and I'm still finding them around the kitchen.

The second picture is the sort of standard red-lentil dal that I make -- I used to make it a LOT, but then Arij kind of lost interest in it so I don't make it as often. It's almost not worth posting a recipe for, because you could find it in any number of cookbooks, but what I do is this:

Red lentil dal

1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed, then cooked in 2.5 or 3 cups water till soft
1 large onion, chopped
(1 T minced ginger -- I don't always have it on hand, so I don't always include it)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Penzeys sweet curry powder
salt to taste

Saute the onions in a couple of tablespoons of oil till nicely soft and browned -- then add garlic and ginger (if using). Stir constantly and keep cooking for another minute or two, then add the curry powder. Turn off heat and stir all this into the cooked lentils.

This time I also added a cube of frozen eggplant from last summer into the simmering dal. It kind of melted in and nearly disappeared, but still provided some depth of flavor.

Potatoes with Indian spices

This time, I sauteed twice as much onion, garlic, ginger and curry powder, and then kept half of it out to combine with the cubed, boiled potatoes.

Green beans

This recipe I adapted from one that Phantom Scribbler gave me. It is seriously yummy.

I made it with Drumlin Farm green beans from the freezer -- they have been delicious!

2 T oil
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 lb green beans
1/4 cup water
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Heat the oil and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Have a lid handy, because those mustard seeds pop everywhere! Fry for a couple of minutes; add the beans and stir fry for 2 or 3 minutes. Add water, cover, and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Uncover, raise heat to boil off any remaining water, and add remaining ingredients.

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