So remember how I was saying the Queen Geek came to visit this weekend. Well yeah. And we had a fabulous time. And she stopped before coming down here at the Bombay Grocers in Ann Arbor. Queen Geek had never been in an Indian grocery store before. I think she was surprised at the tremendous deals she found there. So she picked me up some legumes.
From bottom to top she brought me: urid dal, red lentils, brown lentils, mung beans, and Horse gram. I am completely unfamiliar with Horse gram and mung beans. And urid dal. But I'm excited that she brought them to me. (with some Nigella seeds. Yay!) Because don't forget that I still have that 660 Curries excellent cookbook. And so I added all these legumes to the massive pile of dried legumes in my cupboard and an idea struck me.
Well so did a couple bags of dried beans.
I will be having a legume project. Legumes are ridiculously healthy. They provide loads of dietary fiber, and protein. And they don't have any fat. And most of the worlds cultures have bean dishes. And they're pretty damn cheap. Cheap is really good when the cost of food and gasoline are skyrocketing. SO, once a week, I'm liking Wednesdays, I'll be making a legume dish. Don't worry, they won't all be dals. (Although I do like various dals and will make more.) I also can't promise that they'll all be vegetarian, but I think most of them will be. I can promise there will be no soybeans. Curse those soybeans and my inability to digest them.
For the inaugural legume dish, we travel to India for Pyaaz Waale Sabud Masoor. And no I don't really know how to pronounce it. It's a lovely, hearty dish of brown lentils with big chunks of onions and slices of chiles. It has a very chewy texture and the sweetness of the onions is really surprising. And even though I put 3 Serrano peppers in it, it doesn't overwhelm with spiciness. Served with some Trader Joe's Tandoori Naan it was pretty tasty!
Pyaaz Waale Sabud Masoor
From 660 Curries (also known as Brown Lentils with Chunky Onion and Chiles
1 cup whole brown lentils (sabud masoor) picked over to remove stones
1 medium sized onion cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into 1 inch chunks
2 Tbsp Ghee or canola oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
3 to 5 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or Serrano chiles, to taste, stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices (do not remove seeds)
Place the lentils in a medium size bowl. Fill the bowl halfway with water and rinse the lentils by rubbing them between your fingertips. The water will become slightly cloudy. Drain this water. Repeat three or four times, until the water remains relatively clear; drain. Now fill the bowl halfway with hot water and let it sit on the counter, covered with plastic wrap, until the lentils soften, at least 8 hours or as long as overnight.
Drain the lentils and transfer them to a medium size saucepan. Add the onion and 4 cups water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the surface. Lower the heat to medium, cover partially, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
While the lentils are cooking, heat the ghee (canola oil) in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds, cover the skillet, and cook until the seeds have stopped popping(not unlike popcorn), about 30 seconds. Stir in all the remaining ingredients and lower the heat to medium (to prevent excess spattering when the tomato paste hits the hot ghee/oil). Simmer, uncovered stirring occasionally, until some of the ghee starts to separate around the edges, about 2 minutes.
Scrape the lush red sauce into the cooked lentils. Transfer a spoonful of the dal to the skillet and stir it around to get every bit of flavor; pour this back into the saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils have absorbed the seasonings, about 5 minutes. Then serve.