Daal Palak on top of panfried tofu
A week ago or so I had lunch at Jay’s Indian Restaurant in Basel, I chose the Vegetarian lunch menu as I didn’t feel like eating meat that day. I really like their Kombi-Teller (Combi plate) idea of which the basmati rice, poppadoms, raitha (yogurt dip) is assembled together with the main dishes you have chosen.
The daal I had from Jay’s inspired me to try to make one myself. I don’t normally like lentils because of the texture but somehow the one at Jay’s got a very smooth texture. I had a pack of green lentils sitting in the cupboad for a long time and have been hoping to use it up. So I searched in the internet and most of them do not recommend it to cook too long as it would become mushy and none of them I saw was like Jay’s. When I was cooking, I was thinking that the daal would not be smooth no matter if you cook it longer. So I guess maybe he has blended it with a mixer, and so I did and like the results that become a smooth puree. So the trick is the extra step of BLENDING : ) From now on, I think I will eat lentils more often as lentils are very nutritious and low in calories, low in fat, no cholesterol, rich sources of protein, folic acid, dietary fibre, vitamins B & C…and high concentration of antioxidants. Great to learn lentils is a great fitness food.
A small pack of lentils ended into several portions and I read that they freeze well, so I kept some to eat for tonight and kept the remaining in portions in the freezer.
- 1 cup Lentils (soak overnight and pick out the bad ones if any, wash and drain)
- 3 small onion, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tbsp garam masala
- 3 tsp tumeric
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- about 2 cups vegetable bouillon or broth and water
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 juice of lemon
- 1 small canned coconut milk
- In a large pan or a wok, heat up a little cooking oil, add in the onion pieces and the spices except bay leave and cinnamon stir and cook until the onion become translucent and smell the fragrance from the spices.
- Add the lentils into the pan, follow by the canned tomatoes. Mix well with wooden spatula and add in the vegetable broth and water, bring to boil and then turn down the heat to simmer for about 20-30 mins, add more water if necessary.
- Stir from time to time to avoid burning.
- When the lentils are soft enough, use a handheld mixer and blend until smooth. Squeeze juice of half lemon in.
- Finally, pour in the coconut milk and mix well.
- This is done, you can serve immediately, garnish with some coriander on top, best to eat with naan bread, basmati rice and poppadum, etc
- Optionals or variations you can add in some boiled spinach (Daal Palak) or sautéed mushrooms (Daal Dingri) to individual portions just before serving or simply just serve plain as it is : ) It can also be served as a dip like hummus.
Tonight I have tried to add spinach to it, it was divine. And instead of eating with rice or naan bread, I served with panfried tofu, it worked very well, tasted very good too. Felt I was able to be a bit creative : ) as I had some tofu to finish and I want to cut down on carbs at dinners at the moment.
Daal Palak (Daal with Spinach)