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I just made this recipe, which I found at The Post Punk Kitchen, and it was so delicious I decided to add the recipe here right away.

I’ve only made a few kinds of dal so far, but it’s really brilliant.  If you’re unfamiliar with the term “dal,”  it refers both to a type of split legume — like chana dal (chickpeas), moong dal (mung beans), and the type in this recipe, masoor dal (red lentils) — and to a stew made from these beans.  This stew is a very common dish in Indian cooking, with as many variations as there are regional and personal preferences, and it’s very nutritious and a good source of protein.  Split legumes cook a million times faster than other dried beans, essentially falling apart after half an hour of boiling and becoming a thick gravy (think split pea soup).  This makes them an ideal base for endless combinations of ingredients.

I did make a couple of small changes to the original recipe:  because I like a thick, chunky dal, I added a bunch of very small cauliflower and broccoli florets, a diced red bell pepper, and a couple of cups of curly kale.  I also added a pinch of salt after adding the tomatoes.  I kept the spices the same, but this would also be nice with a pinch of amchoor (mango powder).  Oh, and I also soaked the lentils for half an hour before cooking them.  This went great over cumin rice.

It’s worth it to take the five minutes to toast the whole spices.  Trust me!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp peanut oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated (or minced)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 C dried red lentils
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 C chopped, lightly-packed cilantro (I used 1/2 C parsley)
  • optional ingredients: I added 1/2 C broccoli & 1 C cauliflower, chopped into tiny florets, 1 diced red bell pepper, and about 3 cups of roughly-chopped kale

Spices:

  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 dried red chilies (I had to substitute 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

This recipe, with my additions, made a BIG pot of dal.  Be prepared to freeze some unless you’re feeding a big family.

Instructions:

  • Pick over the lentils, then rinse them well in a mesh sieve, place in a bowl, and cover with water.  Set aside while you prepare the other vegetables.
  • Toast the mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, and whole cloves in a skillet, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.  Let them cool for a few minutes, then grind together with the chilies, cinnamon, and turmeric.
  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium to medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onion and saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and saute 5 minutes.
  • Add the spices and salt, and saute 5 minutes.
  • Add 4 cups of water and stir.
  • Drain the lentils and add them, and the tomato paste.
  • Bring the pot to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  (I simmered 10 minutes, then added the cauliflower and broccoli, then got it back to a simmer for 10 more minutes)
  • Add the lime juice, tomatoes, and cilantro (or parsley).  (This is where I also added the pinch of salt, the red bell pepper, and the kale.)  Stir well, and add water as necessary if it’s too thick.
  • Simmer for 10 more minutes, or until lentils are completely tender.

So good!

I love baking sweet things with pumpkin puree.  I’ve been making pumpkin pancakes on Sundays, and need to do something with the rest of the puree — pumpkin breads generally take a whole 15 oz can, so it’s over to things like muffins and cookies (and more pancakes!) to use it up.   I recently did a pumpkin bread with chocolate chips, and thought how nice it would be to do muffins, so I went on a search and got to choose between a ton of different recipes, some more complex than others.

This simple  recipe comes from The Joy of Baking.  These muffins are moist and tasty and were quickly eaten!  I used a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin, no paper linings, and did not need to spray or grease the cups.  This recipe calls for sifting the dry ingredients, but I don’t have a sifter, so I whisked them, which probably doesn’t lend the same amount of fluffiness to the finished muffins — but they still came out great.   The only alteration I made was to be generous with the spices, using rounded measurements instead of flat.  Next time I’ll try sprinkling a little brown sugar on the tops of the muffins before baking, for a delicious crunchy topping.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs ( I used 1/2 C of Egg Beaters)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 C chocolate chips (I used 60% Ghirardelli chips)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Sift dry ingredients together in medium bowl.
  • In large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Beat in vanilla.
  • Alternately add 1/3 of the dry mixture and 1/2 of the pumpkin puree, mixing after each addition, beginning and ending with the dry mixture.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Spoon into muffin tins and bake 18-20 minutes (mine needed the full 20 minutes).

Let them cool for a few minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool.  Yum!