I had masses of spinach and cilantro in the fridge that was ready to make a turn for the worse. I searched for a good recipe that would use up masses of both at the same time. I ended up making a Spinach and Cilantro Dal (Indian lentil curry) – modified from the original recipes I found online because I don’t have some of the ingredients.
I used 3 cups of water to boil 2/3 cup of red lentils with 1/2 tsp of curry powder (should be tumeric – which I didn’t have at home) and a knob of grated ginger. I let this simmer for 20-25 minutes. After that, I added 1 big handful of coarsely chopped cilantro and around 2 cups of coarsely chopped spinach and cooked this for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, I minced 5 cloves of garlic (the recipe I found called for 8!), added 1 tsp of red pepper flakes (I didn’t have 1 dried red chili pepper), 1 – 2 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp of black peppercorns (the recipe called for mustard seeds – this was the best I could do). I fried these in 2 tbsp of olive oil until everything is popping and happy and the garlic is nicely browned. This part actually stung my eyes a bit because of the strong spices in there, but it also smelled very rich and Indian cuisine-y. After this, I added 1 diced onion and sauteed till transluscent and tender, followed by 1 tomato in wedges heated till the skin is peeling off.
Then I mixed the fried spices with the lentil soup base, add some salt to taste, added some nutmeg … and thus went my first dal! Served with rice (basmati, no less). Joyce and Suz, if you’re reading, I need some feedback.