Because of everything that's been going on around here I haven't had a full on Indian dinner since we moved into our new house. Well, I'm back at it and done, and last week I put the new kitchen to the test. I cooked a multi-course Indian feast as a thank you to friends who loaned us their place in San Francisco so that Alan could stay there while I was in the hospital at UCSF. I got to play with all my new toys and see just how a kitchen that we designed ourselves worked out. It was amazing! No more screaming and swearing, I wasn't a rushed sweaty mess when our guests showed up. For once I had enough ovens, warmers and counter space to greet my guests civilly when they arrived. What a pleasure.
Cooking up the first meal on the new place, I decided to stick with the way I've been eating since earlier this year (when I had food poisoning) and feature a vegan meal. This of course is not hard to do with Indian food. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free all fit very comfortably under the Indian cuisine umbrella without changing or adapting a thing. There are a lot of foods of various countries that work really well with varied diets that one doesn't need to go out of the way or bend over backwards to prepare. One of these is Trevti dal.
Trevti dal is a Gujarati dish and it features a combo of three dals cooked together with spices and vegetables. Recipes for it are found all over the place, and there are various little twists people add, but one of the best recipes for it that I've found is from my friend Sanjana at K.O. Rasoi. So I used her recipe for Trevti dal as the centerpiece of the meal I prepared to thank our friends Ed and Heikki for their generosity. It turned out to be an ideal dish for the cold Sonoma nights we've been having, and no matter what sort of meal you're preparing, there's always room for a warm spicy dal dish.
Trevti DalHere's What You Need:
1/2 cup moong dal
1/2 cup urad dal
1/2 cup chana dal
5 1/4 cups hot water
1 onion chopped
3 large shallots or garlic cloves minced
1 inch piece of ginger minced
2 serrano chilies seeded and chopped
1 Tbs coconut oil
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
6 curry leaves frozen or fresh
1 tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
A 16 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste
Here's What to do:
Mix the three dals together.
Wash and rinse them.
Put the cleaned dal into a pot and add in 5 1/4 cups of hot water.
Boil the dal until it's tender. Skim off any scum that may rise to the surface.
It doesn't take too long to boil the dal into tenderness; about 45 minutes or so . Many people use pressure cookers, but I don't own one and have been cooking dal for 25 years without one. The way I do it is to bring things to a rapid boil then turn down the heat and let the dal bubble along gently until it's ready. If you start to run out of water and your dal isn't tender yet, just add in a bit more water.
When the dal is done, set it aside.
Chop up your spices.
Mince the shallots or garlic.
Chop the chilies.
In a large pan or kadhai, heat the coconut or vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot add in the brown mustard seeds.
When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the onion, garlic or shallots, chilies, asafoetida, curry leaves tar anise , and cinnamon.
Cook everything down until the onions, shallot or garlic are translucent, and things are aromatic.
Cook it gently until everything is blended and tender.
Simmer it all together for about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the chopped fresh cilantro over the dal and mix it in.
Season it with salt to taste.
Then serve it up to hungry guests.
This dal dish is a great example of how a lovely vegan, gluten free entree can be whipped up without having to change anything! I love stuff like this!!
Coming up next, really firing up the kitchen for Indian treats and holiday partying!! Let's take this baby on the road and see how she shakes out. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori