22 January 2014
Toor dal and spicy sambal cabbage
In the interest of cleaning out our food stash while also eating a variety of delightful dinners, I made some toor dal the other day. This fulfilled several criteria at once.
First, we had toor dal already in the freezer. I wanted to get things out of the freezer. Win!
Second, I didn't want to leave the house for any other ingredients. Fortunately, we have a well-stocked spice cabinet and pantry, so that was also a win.
Third, we wanted to eat delicious things. Toor dal is aromatic, full of flavor, and certainly delicious. Another win.
Fourth, we've been wanting to learn to make more Indian food at home. A new dal--generally defined as a lentil or pulse-based soup with spices--definitely qualifies there.
And fifth, I thought it was about time for me to actually try to cook something besides plain dried beans in the pressure cooker. This recipe called for turmeric and ginger in the pressure cooker as well. I tried it out, and lo! Everything worked perfectly.
In conclusion, win win win win win. Yeah!
If you aren't aware, toor dal = dried split yellow pigeon peas. This one combined them with a chonk--a heated oil or ghee with lots of spices--flavored with cumin, mustard seeds, bay leaves, asafetida, dried red chilies, and paprika. That sounds good already, doesn't it? But when you add in some garam amsala and amchoor--dried green mango powder, which serves as an acid punch--you get a really excellent finished product.
I followed Manjula's toor dal recipe, because, as we all know, Manjula's recipes are great. You should go try some of them if you haven't yet. I can't say I bothered clarifying my butter, but otherwise, I followed her basic recipe completely.
The dal was really, really amazing: super delicious, fragrant, hot, but not too spicy. I had some yogurt and cilantro out for garnish, but I ended up not using them at all. The dal itself was already too good. That is really saying something.
We had our dal with brown rice (currently hiding under the dal) and some sambal-sauteed cabbage of which I took zero pictures. It was super easy and tasty, though. This method should work for most hardy winter greens, no problem.
vegetable or peanut oil
sambal oelek to taste
Warm a slug of oil on medium-high in a saute pan of your choice. While your oil is heating, core half a cabbage and slice it into whatever shape you like best. I made large, rough strips about 1 inch wide and 2 inches across, but you can cut yours however you like.
Add your cabbage to the pan along with a pinch of salt. Saute, stirring frequently, until your cabbage has mostly wilted. This should take maybe five to seven minutes. Toss in a spoonful or two of sambal oelek or the other hot chili paste of your choice and continue to cook for another minute or two, or until the cabbage is done to your liking. Taste, correct seasonings, and you're done. Simple.
Eat your cabbage with dal or top it with a fried egg and some slivered toasted almonds for a full-meal experience. Hooray!
What hearty soups and winter vegetables are you eating lately?