Monday, June 21, 2010

dal, beets&spinach and easy vegan naan bread

I really enjoy Indian food, however I have no idea at all how to make it authentically. I enjoy playing around with lentils, spices, veggies and coconut milk to make 'curries.' Tonight I made a Dal with red lentils.

1 Tb peanut oil
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 inch grated fresh ginger
1 clove grated garlic
1 Tb garam masala
salt to taste
1 c. red lentils
2 c. water

1) heat up oil, add onion and mustard seeds, sauteed for a couple minutes, until the onion is slightly softened
2) add red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, garam masala and salt, cook for a few minutes until nice and fragrant
3) add lentils and water, cover and stir, cook on a low simmer until lentils are completedly softened (20-25 min). dal with look like a thick paste.
4) served with a dollop of vegan butter on top

I am a sucker for flatbreads, I call this "Naan bread" however, I believe it is closer to what is called "Roti" traditionally... it's delicious whatever its called! I like to make a big batch of this dough, after the first rise, I break it up into little balls and put in the freezer. Whenever we're having Indian food for dinner, I'll take a couple of dough balls out of the freezer, and leave in the fridge while we're at work. When it's time for dinner, just roll out the thawed dough and cook.

1 1/3 c. very warm water
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. white whole wheat flour
2 Tb olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic -crushed

1) combine sugar, yeast and water in a small bowl, mix until yeast is dissolved. let mixture sit for 10 minutes until foamy
2) put flour in a big bowl. make a well in center, add oil, salt, garlic and the yeast mixture. mix thoroughly with hands to form a dough ball.
3) place dough a well floured surface, knead for five minutes. add a bit more flour as needed.
4) place kneaded dough in a slightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
5) knead dough a little, let sit for 5 minutes. break dough up into 2 inch balls (16-18 dough balls). flatten and roll out with rolling pin into little circles.
6) cook in cast iron skillet for 4 minutes on each side (med heat), the bread is done when browned and slightly crispy

I had some beets in the refrigerator, so I decided to make a beet side for the dal and bread. I roasted the beets in the toaster oven until cooked (wrapped in aluminum foil, bake for 35-45 min at 375 degrees). I combined this with a box of frozen spinach, to get some greens into dinner.

5 roasted beets, cut into bite sized pieces
3/4 c. coconut milk
dash salt
curry powder to taste (2 Tb)
1 box frozen chopped spinach
3 Tb nutritional yeast

-combine ingredients in small sauce pan until well combined, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes over low-medium heat.

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