Thursday, August 25, 2011

gingered red lentil dal and garlicky naan

i have been living in total distraction world.
this is the first time in weeks that i've been able to sit down and breath and jot things down.
so hey. hi. this feels good.

i've had visitors come and go. i went to an island 2 hours away. i've eaten hoards of sushi and coconut cupcakes and gone up to griffith park thrice.
mojitos and i have gotten pretty close.

pretty much i've been in dreamland. dreamland has completely distracted me from getting stressed about my life and what the heck i'm going to do in it.
and now all my lovely travelers are gone. my vacations and staycations and excursions have ended. my room is empty but still very much in shambles. sunblock..empty gum packets..receipts...get them away!

segway to indian food. when i was a wee las i always thought i didn't like it.
what a fool i was being. indian food is messy dig-right-in-deliciousness.
i made this last night for this boyfriend i have.
it was a good way to jump back into things, and into myself.
i've been so distracted by people and fun i forgot what normal life is.

in my normal life i want to make indian food. i wish to go on more aimless walks and i wish for more anderson cooper giggling. and garlic naan, there must always be garlic naan around me. it's the most deliciously edible silverware in the world.

gingered red lentils with a nice kick in the face from fresh and dried chilies. a scoop of cool yogurt and avocado and hot garlicky naan to sop the whole mess up.
major thumbs up.

as wonderful as dreamland has been, i'm a bit looking forward to being back in the groove of things. when a night to relax and sit on the floor eating indian food with someone you like is all you really need to make you happy. 

Gingered Red Lentil Dal
adapted from a Raghavan Iyer reciped featured in Food and Wine's Best of the Best vol 12

1 cup split red lentils
1 small red onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 lengthwise slices fresh ginger (each 2 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 1/8 inch thick), coarsely chopped
2 fresh green thai or serrano chilies, stems removed
2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried red thai or cayenne chilies, stems removed
2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
a few handfuls of spinach
a few handfuls of chopped fresh cilantro

place the lentils in a medium size saucepan. fill the pan halfway with water and rinse the lentils by rubbing them between your fingertips. the water will become cloudy. drain the water and repeat 3-4 times until the water is relatively clear. drain. now add 3 cups of water to the lentils and bring to a boil, uncovered, over medium heat. skim off any foam that forms on the surface. reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, 18-20 minutes. 
while the lentils are cooking, combine the onion, garlic, ginger, and fresh chilies in a food processor. mince the ingredients, using the pulsing action. 
heat the ghee in a skillet over medium-high heat. add the cumin seeds and dried chilies, and cook until the chilies blacken and the seeds turn reddish brown and smell nutty, just about 10 seconds. immediately add the onion blend, reduce the heat to medium, and stir-fry until the mix is light brown around the edges, 3-5 minutes. stir in the tomato, salt, and tumeric. simmer uncovered, until the tomato softens and the ghee starts to separate around the edges of the sauce, 3-6 minutes. stir in the cilantro and spinach. stir the sauce into the cooked lentils, cover the pan and simmer over medium heat 5 minutes more to let the flavors mingle. 

Garlic Naan
recipe from the kitchy kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup warmed buttermilk
1 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup yogurt 
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp grated garlic
handful of chopped cilantro

sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. combine the yeast and buttermilk until it foams a bit. add the yogurt, lemon, and buttermilk/yeast combo to the mix. knead dough until it becomes soft and elastic. to test it, pull off a golf sized ball of dough and pull it thin. if you can pull it thin and it doesn't tear. its ready, if not, knead for another minute or two. (can use the dough hook on your kitchen aid to help your arms out) Put a wet paper towel over the bowl and leave for 2 hours in a warm location (preferably a 100 degree oven). after 2 hours, the dough will have risen. now take dough and make small balls. create oval shaped dough with a slight thickness. rub garlic and cilantro on both sides of the dough. slightly oil a skilled and add some rounds. cook until one side is slightly brown and then flip. brush the hot naan with melted butter and eat right away!

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