- 1/2 cup yellow moong dal (split mung beans) OR yellow split peas OR additional red lentils
- 1/2 cup split red lentils (masoor dal)
- 3 cups water
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1/2 large onion, chopped (set aside other half)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger root, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (if desired)
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala plus more to taste (see my recipe)
- 1/2 large onion, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- Put the lentils, water, and next 7 ingredients (through salt) into a pressure cooker(see Notes below for regular stovetop cooking). Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes and allow pressure to drop naturally for 10 minutes. Open lid carefully and check to make sure lentils are tender. If not, continue to cook without pressure until lentils are fully cooked. Add garam masala and stir vigorously to make the lentils creamy. It should be a medium consistency, so add a little water if it’s too thick. Keep warm.
- While the lentils are cooking, heat a small non-stick skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until they begin to brown. Add the red pepper flakes and cook until onions are softened and touched with brown.
- Check the seasoning of the lentils and add additional salt and garam masala to taste. Serve over rice and top each serving with the browned onions.
If cooking without a pressure cooker, bring ingredients to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan, reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook until lentils are soft, stirring often and adding water if they start to get too dry. Different types of dal take different amounts of time, so allow at least 30 minutes.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 25 minute(s)
Feel free to use other greens besides kale, whatever you have on-hand.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger root, minced, or 1 tsp. powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons garam masala (see below)
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 8 cups chopped kale, packed (1 10-ounce bunch, about 6 ounces after stems removed)
- 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup unsweetened soymilk or other non-dairy milk
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
- salt to taste
- Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, 4-5 minutes, adding water by the tablespoon if needed to prevent sticking. Add the garlic, ginger, and cumin seeds and cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining spices and cook for another minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
- Reduce heat to medium. Stir in the kale and vegetable broth. Cover and cook until the kale is bright green and tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the kale is cooking, put the milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, and tomato paste in the blender and puree until smooth. When the kale is done, add it to the blender and blend until smooth.
- Transfer blended mixture back to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Check seasonings and add more to taste. Stir in chickpeas and continue simmering about 10 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve over basmati rice. Number of servings 6
Panch phoran (also spelled panch phoron and panch puran) is a Bengali blend of five spices– fenugreek, mustard, kalonji (nigella), fennel, and cumin, in equal amounts. (In Bengal, radhuni would be used instead of mustard, but it’s not available in the U.S.) You can buy this spice blend in Indian grocery stores or you can make it yourself.
If you want a more assertive panch phoran taste, grind an additional 1/2 tablespoon of it and add it during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- 1 1/2 cups masoor dal or red lentils
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon canola oil (or canola oil spray)
- 1 tablespoon panch phoran
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste (or 1 tsp. minced ginger)
- 16 ounces diced tomatoes (or 1 can)
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets)
- 1/2 cup water
- Pick over and rinse the lentils and add them to a pot with the water and turmeric. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the dal is tender, about 20 to 35 minutes. When done, add salt and set aside.
- While the dal is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Heat a large, deep skillet, preferably non-stick. When hot, add the canola oil and shake it to spread it around. Add the panch phoran and stir. (You may instead use oil spray; spray before and after adding the panch phoran.) When the first seed pops, immediately add the onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and ginger paste. Stir and cook until the onion softens, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cauliflower, and water, and stir. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes.
- When the dal and cauliflower are both done, add the dal to the cauliflower mixture. Stir well, and check seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve hot, over rice if desired.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 55 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6
(Indian spiced spinach) Saag, or palak, dishes are spiced purees of spinach or other greens common in northern India. They often contain additional ingredients such as potatos, fresh cheese, chicken or chickpeas to make a more substantial dish.
- Oil or ghee — 2 tablespoons
- Onion, chopped — 1
- Garlic, minced — 3 to 6 cloves
- Gingerroot, minced — 1 tablespoon
- Coriander, ground — 2 teaspoons
- Turmeric — 1/2 teaspoon
- Cayenne pepper (optional) — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
- Spinach, chopped — 1 pound fresh or package of chopped frozen spinach thawed
- Water — 1 cup
- Salt — 1/2-1 teaspoons
- Yogurt (optional) — 1 cup
- Cream (optional) — 1/4 cup
- Heat the oil or ghee in a large pot or saucepan over medium flame. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach, water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, allow to cool a bit. Don’t bother to use a blender or food processor to puree in batches.
- Add a little water if necessary and simmer another 5 to 10 minutes.
- OPtional — Stir in yogurt and return to brief simmer and immediately remove from heat. Stir in the optional cream, adjust seasoning and serve.
- Saag, or Palak, Paneer (Spinach with fresh cheese): add 1/2 pound of paneer, cut into cubes, after pureeing the spinach. You may substitute tofu for the paneer if you can’t find paneer. Tofu is not an Indian ingredient, but it has a similar texture and flavor. Press tofu, cut in triangles and brown in oil.
- Jhinga Saag (Spinach with shrimp): add 1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp after pureeing the spinach. Simmer until the shrimp is just cooked through, 3-4 minutes.
- Chana Saag (Spinach with chickpeas): add 1/2 pound cooked chickpeas after pureeing the spinach.
- Saag Murgh (Spinach with chicken): add 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes, after pureeing the spinach. Simmer just until the chicken is cooked through.
- Saag Aloo (Spinach with potatoes): add 1/2 pound cooked, cubed potatoes after pureeing the spinach.
- You may use frozen or fresh spinach. Try substituting mustard or other greens.
- A squeeze of lemon added at the end will brighten the flavor of this dish.