Thursday, March 6, 2014

Simple Yellow Dal with Spinach

Yes, it's another curry! This one is a simple, comforting dal for those nights when you need a little warming up from the inside. Best of all, it requires very little actual effort, since most of the cooking time takes the form of inactive simmering, giving you a chance to have a drink, make a side dish or two, and/or have a nice, hot bath before adding a last-minute handful of spinach, dishing it up, and feeling the love.

Simple Yellow Dal with Spinach
~ 2 cups chana dal (yellow split peas), rinsed and soaked
~ 1 tbsp. coconut oil
~ 1 tsp. each: mustard seeds, cumin seeds
~ 1 medium onion, diced
~ 1 tbsp. each: minced garlic, grated ginger
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, cumin, chili powder, garam masala, fenugreek
~ 1/2 tsp. each: turmeric, asafoetida, cinnamon, cayenne
~ 1 14 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes, including liquid (about 2 cups)
~ 4 cups good, flavorful vegetable broth (homemade or store-bought)
~ 1/2 lb. frozen spinach
~ 1/2 cup fresh, chopped cilantro (optional)

~ In a large, deep pot, melt the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and stir briefly, until they begin to sizzle and pop. Add the onions, lower the heat to medium, and sauté about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
~ Add the garlic, ginger, and dry seasonings and cook for a minute or so, until fragrant.
~ Add the soaked, drained chana dal and stir to coat. Toast for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes and broth.
~ Cover the pot, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, crack the lid, and simmer for an hour, until the liquid has been almost entirely absorbed and the dal is quite soft.
~ Add the frozen spinach and cook 10 minutes more, then stir in the fresh cilantro (if using) and serve hot with steamed basmati rice and/or naan.

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