Red Lentil and Root Veggie Dal
(Sorry, let me sneak in one fabulous main dish this week before we get the cookie bonanza)
On the love-like scale, I gave this a love. Rob gave it a low like. A 5/10 is definitely a fail in my regards. While testing recipes for Terry’s new book, more and more recipes fell in the “Rob loves this more than Janet” category. Not Rob loves the food more than me, but he loved the food more than I loved the food… kapiche?
Testing recipes has been a nice adventure for us to learn more about our cooking and eating preferences. Rob loved the Curry Laksa with Oyster Mushrooms, whereas I wasn’t as smitten. The spicy fastlane cabbage kimchi was way too spicy for me (1/2 cup of Korean pepper flakes!), but Rob loved it in small amounts. I adored the mild ginger kimchi option, though. Likewise, the jigae (kimchi, tofu and eggplant stew) was too spicy for me again, but Rob enjoyed it. In Rob’s quest to make an authentic Massaman curry, he found a winner here, but I wasn’t as sold. Meanwhile, I found my mojo with the Middle Eastern dishes in the book like the Sweet Autumn Toasted Pita and Kale Salad (a Fattoush knock-off), the Moroccan Vegetable Couscous, the Ethiopian Yellow Split Peas with Chard and Tomatoes and the delicious French-inspired White Bean and Celery Root Puree. We both loved the Venezuelan-style Tofu Sofrito Scramble, though.
This Red Lentil and Root Veggie Dal came from Appetite for Reduction (recipe here) and I thought Rob would like it- a red lentil curry, complete with ginger, curry powder, coriander, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon, complemented with a host of root vegetables: carrot, parsnip and turnip (did you spot the cruciferous vegetable?). A quick and healthy recipe, it was also up my alley. Turns out the word curry threw Rob off – he found it to be blander than anticipated. Meanwhile, I adored it! This time, I snatched the leftovers! The vegetables make this a sweet curry and I thought this complemented the savoury spices well. For the curry novices out there, there was no hint of curry powder taste… unless you decide to add more! I found this perfecto as written.
Red Lentil and Root Veggie Dal
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium-size onion, diced finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
2 tsp mild curry powder (we used Madras curry powder)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1.25 tsp salt
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed
3/4 pound parsnip, peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
3/4 pound rutabaga or turnip, peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups) [I used 2 turnips]
1 cup carrots, peeled, and cut into ½-inch pieces
1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add oil. Saute the onions until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chili flakes and saute another minute.
2. Add the remaining spices and salt, and saute for a further 30 seconds. Add the broth, lentils and vegetables. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, until the lentils are cooked and creamy and the vegetables are cooked through and soft. Add additional water, if needed. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
3. Allow the curry to sit for 10 minutes prior to serving. Serve with rice. Makes delicious leftovers.