*Warning: this is a long post, if you successfully read this post through I know you had too much time on your hand, or you really wanted to read this!!
Few weeks ago, I got food poisoning (I think it was from “fresh” strawberry inside a cupcake frosting – at least that’s what I think, since that’s the only different food I ate from my family). It was like living through Dante’s Inferno for 3 days and gradually getting used to eating regular food. However, what truly lifted my spirit was the spice mix I received from Steve’s co-worker!
I don’t even know all the spices in this mix (to name the few – mace, cardamom seeds, cumin seeds, star anise, cinnamon barks, fennel seeds, black peppercorns), but this smells pure heaven!! I told Steve’s co-worker I can easily put this spice mix around my neck and carry it with me everywhere I go!!
So, after I got acclimated to eating regular food, I was itching to use this spice. I was told to use this spice like garam masala, just grind them prior to cooking. I always have lentils in my pantry, I bought beet greens before I got sick and I wanted to use that so I decided to make curry with the ingredients.
I grinded about 2 Tablespoons of my precious spice mix. I kind of created this curry recipe so the measurements are approximation.
Curry with Lentils and Greens:
3 cups of lentils (soak about 4 hours or overnight, drain)
1 large onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 inches fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
about 1 pound of greens (collard, beet, mustard, etc) – I used beet green.
2 Tablespoons spice mix (you can use garam masala)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Salt to taste
Sauté the onions for few minutes in a medium pot over medium-hot heat. Add the garlic and onion and heat for another few minutes. Add the spice mix, turmeric, and chili powder – mix well with the onion mixture and sauté for few minutes.
Add the drained lentils, and mix with the spiced onion mixture, making sure you coat the lentils. Add enough water to cover the lentils (about 1 inch above the lentils), add the greens and stir to mix. Bring the mixture to a boil and lower the heat, put the lid on and simmer for about 20 minutes. Salt to taste. Note : I made this a day prior to eating. I think it tastes better this wayI loved this curry because of the spices! This recipe has become my comfort food. It’s great eating with chapaati, but I especially like it with basmati or short grained rice!
This is my lentil curry with the greens, chapaati and dal ki kachori. You’ll find the recipes to chapaati and dal ki kachori below.
Okay, before I proceed with other recipes, I just want to say I found this really wonderful Indian cookbook which recently came out. It’s called India Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant. I have few trustworthy Indian cookbook, but this one is the stellar winner!! My chapaati and dal ki kachori recipes came from this cookbook.
3-1/2 cups (400g) whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
melted ghee or butter, for brushing (optional)
Sift the flour and salt into an open, stainless steel tray or large bowl. Add about 1 cup (250ml) water to the flour and start mixing until a soft dough is formed.
Divide the dough into equal pieces and roll into balls. Flatten each ball between the palms of your hands and dust with flour. Roll each out to about 5 inches (15cm) in diameter.
Heat a flat tawa or a heavy-based frying pan (skillet) over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add a chapaati to the pan cook for about 10 seconds, pressing with a cloth until the bread begins to puff up, then turn and cook the other side in the same way. The chapaati is cooked when brown patches appear on the surface. Serve the chapaati as they are, or brushed with ghee or butter.
Note: making chapaati is more effective if you just use your hands for mixing, etc.
Dal ki Kachori:
2/3 cup urad dal (black lentils), rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1-1/2 cups self rising flour
4 Tablespoons oil
enough oil for shallow frying
Soak the urad dal in a bowl of water overnight.
Drain the dal, transfer to a blender or food processor and process to make a coarse paste. Mix in the chili powder, peppercorns and coriander seeds, and season with salt. Set aside.
Using your hands, mix the flour and oil together in a large bowl. Slowly add enough water to make a stiff dough. Knead thoroughly and then set aside for 1 hour.
Knead the dough again, then divide it into 12-14 equal sized portions, roll into balls, then make a slight depression in the center and fill with a little of the dal paste. Cover the dal paste completely with the dough and flatten the dough between the palms of your hands. Roll the bread lightly on the board until it is about 3 inches (8cm) in diameter. Repeat until all the dough and dal paste are used up.
Heat the oil for shallow frying in a deep, heavy based pan over high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Working in batches, shallow fry the breads for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown, then turn them over and fry the other side until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper towel. Repeat until all the breads are cooked.
These breads can be eaten either hot or cold and are good for school lunches, picnics or long journeys.
My opinions: These breads were a huge hit with my kids!!! It takes a bit of time making, but sooooo worth it!!!