Yesterday both Jill (Downtown’s Demo Diva) and I demo’d this month’s Meal of the Month (MoM) – Lentil Daal served with Mint Raita and jasmine rice. This was Jill’s first month demoing the Meal of the Month downtown, and she will most likely continue doing it monthly. I demo the MoM on the first Friday of the month at the Cordata Co-op (since technically the first Friday this month was a holiday, I am counting yesterday as the “first” Friday of January for demo purposes!), and Jill will probably demo it the second Friday of the month Downtown, so you will have two chances to try it out before you cook it!
I had never cooked Indian food before, and I will confess, I have never even cooked lentils (what kind of a Co-op employee am I, anyway!). Thank goodness I have lots of co-workers whose experiences I can draw from. I loved the smell of all the spices, and once I got all my ingredients set up, it was a very simple recipe (albeit with lots of ingredients and steps, but worth it!). I had many co-workers eager to “sample” it for me and the aroma was invigorating.
If you have made daal before (or dal, both are apparently correct according to the internet…), then this recipe should be a breeze. If you haven’t, here are a few pointers:
- Start your rice and lentils cooking at the same time, at the beginning. Add a little salt to your rice, but not to the lentils – salt toughens them if they haven’t been cooked yet.
- If you don’t have much lentil experience, never fear, as they seem pretty hard to totally mess up. For my demo, I washed them and soaked them for about 15 minutes while I got everything else together. Once I was ready, I drained the water and put them in a pot (3 to 1 ratio water to lentils) and let them simmer away with no lid for about 35 minutes. Don’t fret if you have water in the pot when they are tender, I just dumped it all in with the onions since you are supposed to add water to the recipe anyway!
- Feel free to use hot sauce in place of the cayenne for the heat factor – I made mine pretty mild for the demo, but you can really spice this up if you like!
Mint Raita Ingredients:
2 c plain yogurt
1 large cucumber, grated
10 fresh mint leaves
½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
2 T ground cumin
Puree yogurt, cucumber, mint and cilantro (if using).
Add cumin, salt and pepper and blend.
Put in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to meld flavors.
1 ½ c green lentils, soaked and cooked until soft (no added salt)
1 1/2 c jasmine rice, cooked (I used the OG Brown Jasmine in bulk)
2T olive oil
½ t brown mustard seeds
½ t cumin seeds
1 onion, chopped (about 2 c)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 t grated fresh ginger
1t ground coriander
1t garam masala
1t sea salt
2 T tomato paste
¼ t cayenne pepper (or more)
Lemon juice to taste
Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Note: optional ingredients or substitutions may bring cost above $10.
Daal Cooking Instructions:
Prepare rice and lentils. Prep veggies and spices.
In a large pan, heat 2 T oil, mustard and cumin seeds on medium high until mustard seeds pop.
Add onion and garlic, cook until just soft.
Add remaining spices, tomato paste and enough water for a thick consistency.
Add cooked lentils and heat (cayenne) to taste.
Add lemon juice to taste. Garnish with cilantro.
Serve lentil daal over rice with raita on the side.
Optional: steam rice with sea salt, pepper, turmeric, bay leaf & sautéed onion.
Other spices to try with the rice: cardamom, clove, cinnamon, saffron
I will admit that it did cost me around $13 to make this, but I bought organic ingredients when there was an option so this did bring the cost up a little.