Tuesday, December 27, 2016

An Easy Indian Comfort Food Recipe to Get the New Year Started Right

   Like a lot of people this time of year, I have spent the greater part of the last month immersed in cooking. Cooking for holidays, cooking for guests, and just plain cooking for just us chickens as my mom used to say. Once the holidays start to wind down a bit, I'm interested in clean and simple food for the remaining Winter months ahead. For a country associated with hot hot weather, the Indian kitchen has some great recipes that work really well when the temperatures have gone waaaay down there. Of course, being a native Californian what some of us consider cold, others just laugh at, but either way it feels good this time of year to put something warm in the belly... especially if that something requires a minimum of work... oh and healthy wouldn't hurt either.

   So, that's why I got a jump on the New Year eating and fixed a simple dal lunch the other day. I mean really simple. Like, boiling water simple. Except you don't even have to do that. I'm talking open the oven door and shove it in there simple. Can't beat that, especially at this time of year. So, without further ado....Easy Baked Dal.

Oven Baked Dal

Here's What You Need:
1 cup of channa dal
1 and 1/4 pints of water
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 Tbs ghee or unsalted butter
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 small onion finely chopped
1/2 tsp kashmiri chili
1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro

Here's What To Do:
Wash and rinse the dal
soak it in 1 and 1/4 pints of water for at least 2 hours or even better overnight. I usually soak it overnight.
Drain the dal after soaking.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Place the soaked dal into an oven proof dish and add in 1 and 1/4 pints fresh water.

Stir in the ground turmeric...

...and salt.

Mix everything together well.

Put a lid on the dish and place it in the oven.

Bake for about 1 and 1/2 hours or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the dal is tender.
Now for the chaunk:
In a skillet heat the ghee or the unsalted butter until it's foamy.

Add in the chopped ginger and chopped onion...

...and stir it around well until the onion is browned and turning crispy.
Now, add in the kashmiri chili.

Stir it around for a few minutes then pour it all into the cooked dal.

Mix it in well, then add in the chopped fresh cilantro.

Check for seasoning and serve it up.

Add a bit more cilantro for color.

And you are in business.

   There it is. Serve it up with chapattis and you've got a meal. If you're adding in anything else (salad, meat, fish)  it's jelly on the jelly.  This is good, warming, healthy and once you get it into the oven, easy peasy. The perfect antidote to a month of fancy pants eating and drinking, this dal will make you feel virtuous and as if you are following through on all your new Years resolutions whether you are or not.
   Coming up next, some healthier options to get the month of January off to a great start. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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