Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vegan Mofo recipe: Mellow Yellow Dal w/ mustard and cumin seeds

Dal has to be one of the world's most versatile and foolproof foods.  Cook lentils in water, add spices, chopped veggies, salt, stock or bouillon, and there you go- dal.  This dal is lovely to serve this time of year, because it's color reflects the yellowing leaves outside and it warms the throat and belly.  I added a little hot sauce to the top of mine to go with the chips.  When I eat this alongside Indian food, I prefer it with naan and keep the hot sauce out.  

Mellow Yellow Dal w/ mustard seeds
serves 6-8

1 1/2 cups split yellow mung beans (moong dal)
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
5 cups water
2 tsp. better than bouillon, vegetable flavor 
1/2 tsp sea salt, or more to taste
3 diced carrots
1 minced onion
1 minced celery stalk
5 tbs olive or canola oil
1 T cumin seeds
1 T mustard seeds
2 T chopped fresh ginger
1 jalapeno, deseeded and finely chopped
1 T lemon juice
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)

Cook yellow split beans, celery and carrots with water and bouillon over med-high heat until boiling, then cook over low heat, partially covered, for an hour or until the yellow split beans are soft.  ++If you can't find a good quality vegetable bouillon use 5 1/4 cups water and 1 tsp. soy sauce instead.++ If you prefer a soupier dal, add a 1/2 cup more water.  Remove from heat and beat the dal with a whisk or heavy spoon until the dal thickens (about 2 minutes).  
In a small cast iron skillet (or small frying pan) heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot.  Immediately add mustard and cumin seeds and cook for 15 seconds, then add minced onion.  Cook for 5 minutes or until onions are soft and gently browned.  Stir in ginger and chilies and cook for 1 or 2 minutes before removing from heat.  
While dal is still hot, add spice onion mixture and stir in lemon juice and smoked paprika (optional).  Garnish with fresh cilantro.  This reheats and freezes well and also tastes good at room temperature.