Saturday, May 22, 2010

Red Lentils & Yogurt

I'm trying to make more Indian/South Asian food because up here in Yankee Land it's a lot easier to find the ingredients cheaply than it is for my Mexican staples. There are three Indian and Pakistani grocery stores within a three-block radius of mi casa and I've found them to be the best-priced purveyors of bulk spices around town, so I decided that this week I was switching from beans and rice to their South-Asian split-lentil counterpart: dals.
[Side note: I've heard that people in the food scene here don't consider Mexican cuisine to be a viable food trend, which hurt my heart a little... and gave me a serious jonesing for some homemade corn tortillas... and made me think they need to visit Berlin for a little enlightenment.]

On this particular night worknight, I wasn't up for any real effort [like blooming whole spices in oil], so I decided to try a super simple [Americanized?] version of a red lentil recipe I'd printed from the New York Times. I didn't have any sweet potatoes, so I just skipped them and added a whole 15oz can of diced tomatoes (with juice) instead. The ginger in my vegetable bin was, ahem, fuzzy so I doubled the dried ginger. I didn't have a Thai chili so I used a serrano, half-seeded. I actually had a fresh coconut, but didn't feel like splitting it and I also had a jar of dried, unsweetened coconut chips in the pantry [gotta love a well-stocked pantry], and I'd somehow used all my fresh cilantro, so I put a big dollop of unsweetened, fat-free yogurt on top.
Verdict? Tasty, perfectly acceptable alternative to beans, and clearly adaptable to my whims. I served it over brown rice for dinner and ate it swirled with yogurt [2:1] for lunch the next day.*

I do have one Indian cookbook, and though it is the source of my favorite recipe for mattar paneer [spicy peas w/ fresh cheese], I don't really love it for some reason and rarely reference it. If you've got recommendation for a book or blog on the subject, let me know in the comments.

*... actually it was breakfast, but it was great, and it would have been great for lunch, too.


  1. AnonymousMay 23, 2010


  2. hmmm.That recipe looks really warm. You really do recipes from different cultures, huh? You're such a great food blogger. Keep it up!

  3. M, whenever I try lentils they look fine for a while and then always go to mush. What am I doing wrong?