We're a full three weeks and counting into our vegetarian Lenten challenge, and I have to tell you, it feels great. I am loving the new cooking adventures and new approach to seeking out healthy foods. And I don't know if it is my slightly ramped-up exercise routine, or the vegetarian food, but I have more energy, feel more upbeat (even in this end-of-winter "blah" stage of the year) and have been sleeping better too.
All of this has me really considering how we will continue to eat after Easter. In other words, will I be eating ham on Easter? Or just my Uncle Paul's wonderful potato pierogies? Time will tell...
Whether we return to our pre-Lent diet or not, this recipe has a firm place in our future dinner repertoire. "Dal," (pronounced "doll") is a sort of Indian chili if I had to break it down. It means a dish that contains lentil beans, but beyond the lentils, you can serve it any ole' way you wish. This particular dal uses mango, and is light enough on the Indian spices that it is a good starter dal for someone unsure of whether they like Indian food.
We love Indian food and this recipe is a great example why. Complex flavors married with a touch of sweetness and savory all in one dish.
Mango Dal (adapted from an Eating Well recipe--I'm not quite brave enough yet to develop my own Indian recipes and magazine's recipes rock!)
1 cup lentils, preferably yellow lentils
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt, divided use
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup diced mango (I use frozen mango)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cups cooked couscous
In a medium stock pot, combine the lentils, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and turmeric. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a dry skillet (no oil), place the cumin seeds and heat to medium. Let the seeds brown for a minute or two, being careful to not let them burn. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook over medium heat or until the onions become a bit translucent, about 3-5 minutes..
Add the coriander, cayenne and mango to the onion mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Once the lentils have cooked for 20 minutes, add the onion/mango mixture to the lentils. Cook the lentils for another 10 minutes or until the mango is very tender and the lentils are your desired consistency.
Serve over couscous and top with cilantro, if desired.
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side.
Have a sweet weekend all-