I’ve had these pictures sitting around for awhile because I thought this meal didn’t include any new recipes when we made it. However, I was mistaken because I did discover that I’ve never blogged about dal nirvana, which was surprising since we make it frequently! I will call this my “Monday Mashup” because it involves a smattering of our favorite Indian recipes, all in one meal. We indulged on homemade Naan bread, Dal Nirvana, Coconut Lentils, Creamed Spinach, and Chickpeas in Coconut Milk. And while that sounds like a ton, if you portion it over several days between two people, it can last you a very long time! Will worked very hard to have all of this prepared and I wanted to share what a typical “non-blogging” night is like in our house, aka when we aren’t making something new so I can share it with you all! So if you love Indian food and want a homemade feast, the following recipes go beautifully together. I have included all the recipes, even if some are duplicates from previous blog posts, to make it easier to understand.
Cooking Notes: We don’t always use fresh ginger with this recipe. We don’t always necessarily use evaporated milk, probably substituting cream or regular milk.
Dal Nirvana (adapted from Budget Bytes; serves 6)
1 cup dry brown lentils
1 can (15 oz.) crushed or diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger (or 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp butter
S&P, to taste
1/2 cup evaporated milk or cream
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
Place the lentils in a pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain in a colander. While the lentils boil, mince the garlic and peel/grate the ginger. Return the drained lentils to the pot, once they’re done, turning it on medium heat. Add the butter, ginger, garlic, cayenne, S&P.
Add the can of tomatoes and one cup of water. Stir it all together, bringing it to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, put a lid on the pot, and let it simmer for half an hour. The mixture should become soft and thick after an half hour. If not, continue to simmer, adding more water if it dries out-you want the end result to be thick! When ready, stir in the evaporated milk or cream and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over rice or with naan bread for dipping!
Recipe: Budget Bytes: Dal Nirvana
Place the lentils in a medium pot and gently rinse 2-3 times or until water runs clear. Drain as much water out after the last rinse, as possible.
Mince the garlic and add it to the pot along with the salt, turmeric, coconut milk, and 1 1/2 cups water. Give it a gentle stir to make sure everything is mixed. Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat, covering with a lid. Once it’s boiling, remove the lid and let it boil gently for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. When most of the liquid is gone, turn off the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes to continue absorbing. Taste and season with more salt if desired, then serve.
Recipe: Coconut Lentils
Indian Style Creamed Spinach (adapted from Budget Bytes; serves 4)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion
2 inches fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. fresh baby spinach
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large tomato
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup evaporated milk
Add the olive oil and two cloves of minced garlic to a large skillet. Peel and grate both the onion and ginger straight into the skillet. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until softened. While the onion, ginger and garlic are cooking, place the spinach in a large pot along with one cup of water and 1/2 tsp of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until the spinach is tender (about 5 minutes). Turn the heat off and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor or blender and pulse a few times to break up the spinach, but do not puree it.
After the onion, garlic, and ginger have softened, add the cumin, garam masala, and cayenne. Stir and cook for about 3 minutes more. Dice the tomato and add it to the skillet. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes more or until the tomato has broken down. Stir the evaporated milk into the skillet. Add the turmeric and salt. Stir and heat through. Add the cooked and blended spinach along with all of the liquid. Stir, taste, and add more salt if desired. Serve hot with bread for dipping.
Recipe: Indian Creamed Spinach
Tanzanian Chickpeas in Coconut Milk (adapted from Extending the Table; serves 4)
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
1 tomato, chopped
A dash of ground cloves
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz. can coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
Put all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes to blend flavors. Serve with rice.
Recipe: Tanzanian Chickpeas in Coconut Milk
Naan Bread (adapted from Budget Bytes; yields 8-10 pieces)
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 – 3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 large egg
In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and water. Stir to dissolve and let it sit for a few minutes until it is frothy on top. At that point, stir in the oil, yogurt and egg until evenly combined.
In a medium sized bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the salt. Add the bowl of wet ingredients to the flour/salt mixture and stir until well combined. Continue adding flour a half a cup at a time until you can no longer stir the mixture with a spoon. Turn the ball of dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead the ball of dough for about 3 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking (having a helper for this can be crucial to the success of the bread!). The dough should end up being smooth and very soft, but not sticky. Loosely cover the dough and let it rise until double in size (about 45 minutes). After it rises, gently flatten the dough and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball by stretching the dough back under itself until the top is smooth and round.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with non-stick spray (if necessary). Making one dough ball at a time, roll out a ball until it is about 1/4 inch thick and approximately 6 inches in diameter. Place the rolled out dough onto the hot skillet and cook until the under side is golden brown and large bubbles have formed on the surface. Flip the dough and cook the other side until golden brown as well. Repeat with each ball of dough, only doing one at a time and rolling out the dough right before putting it on the skillet. Serve plain or brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with herbs!