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.
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.
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.