March 26, 2012

Moong Dal w Kale

New Veggie #23 - Kale - Take 2 - So I've been craving Indian comfort foods for some odd reason. All day today I was thinking of making "Saag Dal" which essentially translates to Greens with Lentils. This is quite an easy preparation and can be eaten with Naan, or with rice and tastes good both ways. A quick call to my sister-in-law and I was mentally extremely well prepared for the task at hand when I walked in the door.  Traditionally, Saag Dal is made with Spinach. But I had a bunch of Kale sitting in the fridge and I decided to use that instead. The result was absolutely delicious!!!

Mung Dal with Kale
Prep Time: 20-30 min

Mung dal
  1. 2-3 cups Kale
  2. 1 medium red Onion, diced
  3. 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  4. 1/2 cup Split Mung (mung) dal (green lentils)
  5. 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  6. 1 tbsp Cumin powder
  7. 1 tbsp Coriander powder
  8. 1/8 tsp Asafoetida (optional)
  9. 2 cups vegetable broth
  10. Salt, to taste
  11. Cayenne pepper, to taste
Add 2 cups vegetable broth to a pressure cooker* and bring to a boil. Add onions, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, lentils, cumin, coriander, asafoetida and salt to taste. Bring to a rolling boil and then add kale. Given that kale is a rather hardy leaf, it is hard to press down into the cooker, especially since this recipe calls for 2-3 cups. Don't fret. Pressure cooking is basically cooking under steam so the kale will not burn even if it is not touching the liquid at the bottom. Cover with lid and steam, under pressure for about 10 min (1 full steam release and a simmer for another 2-4 min). Turn off the stove and let the steam dissipate on its own before opening the cooker. The kale is likely to be still sitting on top of all the liquid. With a wooden spatula, mix the kale into the cooked lentils at the bottom. Serve hot, sprinkled with a little cayenne pepper, with Garlic Naan, or Steamed rice. 

Nik's Reaction: Mom, what is that? At the sight of warm Naan. He wasn't a big fan of the lentils but ate almost half a naan all by himself. 

Alex's Reaction: Alex enjoyed this preparation. He wanted only the naan at first but I coaxed him into trying the lentils and HE LOVED IT!! He ate a Naan and another half with a good amount of the dish. I'm so proud of him for having tried something new!! 

My Assessment: Growing up, I wasn't a big fan of green vegetables. I used to tell my mom and my aunt that I didn't want to eat cow-fodder. Well that has definitely changed and today I added a 'comfort food' label to this recipe. We had it with Garlic Naan from Trader Joe's. It was great and reminded me a lot of my aunt who passed away a few years ago (I miss you, Badi ma ... ). A great big thanks got out to her for introducing me to Saag Dal!

* To make this dish without a pressure cooker, I would modify the steps just slightly. I don't think this will work very well in a crock-pot (slow cooker) but a dutch oven should work just as well as a pressure cooker. I would boil kale in vegetable broth and salt to cook it down, before adding the rest of the ingredients and simmering until the lentils were cooked, adding vegetable broth and/or water to keep the bottom from burning. The final dish should be very moist but not runny when served on a dinner plate.  

1 comment:

  1. Sounds good! I like the cumin addition in this recipe.