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August 2011 COTM, World Vegetarian: Dried Beans, Dried Peas, Lentils, and Nuts

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  1. Lentils Topped with Gingery Spinach and Yogurt, p. 62

    Or in my case, topped with chard, which she suggests as a sub for spinach. I used French lentils instead of the standard green called for because I didn't have enough of the latter, and made a few minor additions to add dimension to my one-dish meal.

    This has as its basis Lentils with Onion and Garlic on p. 61. That recipe begins with the cooking and removing from the pan of onions, but I skipped that step here, preferring to get the lentils going, figuring I'd do the onions in the other pan I would need to use. So I proceeded with the stirring of chopped garlic and dried red chile into hot olive oil (I used chile flakes and also added some cumin seeds), to which lentils and water are added and simmered until the lentils are tender, then seasoned with salt and pepper.

    A finely sliced onion is fried in olive oil until browned, and removed from the pan. (Jaffrey says to drain on paper towels, but mine didn't need it.) Julienned gingerroot is stirred into hot olive oil, and the greens are added and wilted. Because I was using chard, I sauteed the chopped stems for a few minutes, then added the ginger, then the leaves, which I sliced into 1-inch ribbons, with the rinsing water clinging to them.

    To serve, the lentils are topped with the greens, then a dollop of yogurt and some fried onions. Before serving, I stirred a couple of raw, chopped tomatoes into the lentils, and stirred chopped mint leaves, salt, and pepper into the Greek yogurt. All in all, I thought the sum (with my additions, at least) was very good, with lots of intermingling warm/cool/spiced/fresh flavors/temperatures/textures, and enjoyed it.

    1. I love this cookbook and bought it the day it came out about 12 years ago. This is my favorite chapter. I haven't cooked anything from it in several months, but I'll list my favorites for now and will re-visit those and try some new ones this month (what a great reason to pull this out of the cupboard!).

      -Refried beans (page 12)
      -Whole grain (bead) hummus (page 28)
      -Chickpea stew with six vegetables (page 30)
      -Chickpea flour pancakes (page 37)
      -Chickpea flour pizza (farinata) (page 39) so delicious
      -Chickpea flour french fries (page 41)
      -Lentils with rice (page 63)
      -Tex-Mex vegetarian chili (page 64) love this recipe

      Happy cooking!

      2 Replies
      1. re: janehathaway

        I appreciate your list. I am interested in this book, but find it a little daunting, and weirdly organized, so lists like yours help. Thanks.

        1. re: janehathaway

          any technique tips on the chickpea flour french fries? they are a definite on my to do list.

        2. Red Lentils Hyderbadi pg 69

          A very nice simple little dal. The masoor lentils are first cooked according to the master recipe on pg 60, then a tempering oil with mustard seed, dried chilis, curry leaf and garlic cloves is heated and added to the lentils. A little added lime juice before serving. That's it, and it is tasty. We had it with a little rice, a carrot raita, and a little lime pickle as very veg lunch.

          Technique wise the only note I'd make is that the garlic cloves really do permeate the tempering oil and ultimately the dal, so its important to watch closely that they don't singe.

          1. Black-Eyed Peas with Trinidadian Seasonings – p. 21

            First use of this recipe and, this cookbook and I’m hoping this is a good indicator as to what the book has to offer since we truly enjoyed this dish.

            Ideally you’d start w dried peas but I was making this for a weeknight meal and that just wasn’t possible. I used canned peas.

            Diced carrots, green onions, celery, carrot and green pepper are sautéed over med-high heat until just starting to brown. I had some red bell pepper so I added it in as well. MJ has you add water and then seasonings at this point however I prefer to cook my dried herbs and spices a little so I added those (thyme, paprika, chili flakes, allspice, mustard and salt) first and then 2 cups of chicken stock (vs water), adjusting the quantity for the fact that my peas were canned. I brought this to a boil then simmered for about 20 mins so the flavours incorporated and, the stock reduced.

            This dish was delicious and I served it for two dinners. The first time, we had it as is and the second night, I added some chopped Swiss chard and served this over steamed brown rice that I’d prepared in the rice cooker. I added some dried thyme and fresh, crushed garlic to the rice prior to cooking. We especially enjoyed it w the chard over rice. The flavour profile reminded me of Jamaican rice and peas and the dish was the perfect accompaniment to our grilled Bajan chicken.

             
             
             
             
             
            1. Help!

              Just soaked my urad dal for four hours and am getting ready to make the Split Urad Beans Cooked in the Lucknow Style on page 114. Ingredients list calls for "1 fresh hot green chile," no further instructions appended. Instructions call for heating oil, adding cumin, and then "put in the green chile and garlic." Nowhere does it say to do anything at all with the chile: not chopped, not sliced. Surely you don't just put a whole, uncut, jalapeno in the pan, do you?

              7 Replies
              1. re: JoanN

                Hi Joan, I would imagine she intends that the green chili be left whole. I have seen this in other books as well. If I were making this, I'd leave the chile whole. Let us know how it goes, it sounds delicious.

                1. re: JoanN

                  Split Urad Beans Cooked in the Lucknow Style (page 114)

                  Bor-ing.

                  Breadcrumbs is probably right that you're supposed to cook a whole, unchopped, green chile along with a split garlic clove, but I figured how much flavor would that impart? So I found an online blog of the recipe where it was clear the blogger had chopped the green chile, and since I like heat I decided to do the same. Can’t imagine how much more bland this dish would have been if I’d just cooked the chile whole. Couldn’t taste the cumin seed, either. The fried onions, cooked with a dry red chile, which she doesn’t say to split but I did to get some seeds in there, made it tolerable, but only barely. Unlike sarahcooks (below), I have no intention of playing with this recipe to try to make it better.

                  Okay. So now what do I do with all that leftover, flavorless, cooked urad dal?

                   
                  1. re: JoanN

                    Well, I won't be making any more of her dal recipes! Unless maybe someone else finds a good one.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      Hmmm... always the tough questions Joan. How about making a really flavorful paste of chilis, cumin, garlic and salt? Mixing this into the dal and then making pancakes or fritters? Then serve a really flavorful vegetable ragu on top? Maybe with a yogurt dressing of some type?

                      1. re: JoanN

                        Since most dals are flavored with a tarka at the end, couldn't you simply make up a nice, flavorful one and add that? Maybe stir in some turmeric to the dal too? How odd that she would include such a bland recipe. I quite liked her dals in the Indian Cooking book.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          First, you stir the fried onions into the dal. That adds flavor through the dish.

                          If you dont like the mildness season it up some more.. Heat a couple of tbsp of oil,butter or ghee,in a small frying pan,adding some more cumin seeds, when they start to turn color, add a spoon or two of finely chopped green chiles and ginger or garlic., sautee them til it has given up its fragrance and are a trifle golden/brown on the edges. throw the contents of the frying pan into the dal stir up,.

                          Asafoetida is also a nice add to the seasoning, as the first item added to the oil. I often throw a handful of chopped coriander into my dal.

                          Even tho this looks intended to be a mildly seasoned dal. I was a little bit surprised that the red chile, was put into the oil then the fried onions. I would be afraid that the chile would burn.

                          I also think a jalapeno is the wrong chile for this dish - more flavor is needed, esp since most jalapenos these days have little heat - the one I had yesterday could have been eaten like a bell pepper. One or two of the skinny long pointed ones would have been better.

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            That's essentially what I did with the leftovers: fried up more (lots more) cumin seeds; garlic; and crumbled, dried, Asian chiles. Didn't have any asafoetida, so added a bit of onion powder. Stirred that into the reheated dal and it was a decent accompaniment to some simply grilled salmon.