When I made the Chickpea and Chana Dal Curry with the Tamarind-Mint Sauce, I really liked how the chickpeas were still relatively intact but the chana dal melted into a creamy sauce. It got me thinking: I don’t tend to mix my beans that often. Although there was that Symphonic Mixed Bean Salad, but those beans came mixed in a can!
I have so many beans that Rob thinks it would be really funny if I put them all in one big bean salad. But they all cook at different times, Rob… Why not just save a 1/4 cup of cooked beans each time and then freeze them for the salad? Totally right on the money there!
But until I cook more of my heirloom beans, that salad will have to wait.
I originally spotted this recipe on The Wednesday Chef, as a Two Lentil Stew that she adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors when I was looking for more recipes with chana dal. In the comment section, though, it turned out it was actually a Five Lentil Stew that she had modified… and I had 4/5 of the beans: red lentil, chana dal, mung dal and toor dal. Not too shabby if you ask me, with only urad dal as the missing ingredient. And since they are all split beans, this stew cooks up quickly.
The mixture of beans in this stew creates a glorious effect. Some turn to mush, others keep their shape, more are half-way in between. The texture is unbeatable.
Only have two of the beans? Find a ratio that works for you. My ingredient amounts are a bit wonky because I wanted a total of 1.25 cups of beans. Any combination will still work, because the flavours of the stew are nice and soothing. Almost like a little hug for a cold and wet day. Or a nice warm oasis while slurping this up at work for lunch. This is a comforting tomato-laden stew with your warming Indian spices: cumin, garlic and garam masala. Add heat to taste, but with my mild tastes, I kept the chili flakes to a minimum.
And with that, we have an easy month of beans. They are so versatile, that I encourage you to continue to see how you can add them to your meals. Cathy wrote a wicked awesome round-up earlier this month with even more ways to incorporate beans that I encourage you to read. She even has ideas for beans in your breakfast and dessert, too!
Who knows, maybe next year for VeganMoFo I will plan ahead to do 31 days of DIFFERENT beans.. Not sure whether I have that many, but it would be close! ;)
Mixed Lentil and Tomato Stew
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp red lentils
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp chana dal
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp moong dal (hulled, split mung beans)
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp toor dal (split pigeon peas)
5 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 tsp Aleppo chili flakes, or to taste (this was not spicy)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced or pressed garlic (6 cloves)
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 large tomatoes, chopped (I used 14 cocktail tomatoes, around 1lb)
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1. Rinse the all the beans.
2. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the dal and lentils, stir, and bring back to a boil. Then remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for 2 hours.
3. Add the turmeric and cayenne to the legumes and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until tender, approximately 35 minutes.
4. 15 minutes before the dal is ready, begin cooking the spice mixture: heat the oil in a heavy skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion and garlic and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cumin and garam masala and cook another minute. Add the tomatoes and salt, and cook until the tomatoes have been reduced, approximately 10 minutes.
5. Add the tomato mixture to the dal, stir well and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more to blend the flavors. Taste for salt and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve hot in one large bowl or in individual-sized bowls with chapatti.