Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Random Recipe Wednesday: Sweet Potato Dal

Overkill can kind of ruin a thing for you.  For example, I don't think I'll ever eat another orange-pineapple sandwich cookie in my life.  We must have had those every single day on a family camping trip.  Don't get me wrong, I was obsessed with them at first, but after a 2-3 week road trip I'd had my fill of orange-pineapple sandwich cookies for life.

I almost did the same thing with this lentil and sweet potato dish.  The first time I ate a bowlful I knew I wanted the recipe.  When I was back in my own kitchen I made it so many times over the next few months that I thought I'd never swallow another spoonful.  Wrong.  It's been several years, so I decided to pull out the recipe again.  Nope, definitely not sick of this anymore.  I'm not quite as obsessed with it as I was the first go-round, but it sure hit the spot.  Fragrant and filling, a warm bowlful will leave you feeling satisfied but not overly stuffed.  Sometimes I get so lost in all things chocolate, peanut butter and baked that I forget how much I enjoy something savory from the stove-top.

Dal or dhal is a dish made with lentils or other dried peas and beans.  If you've eaten at an Indian restaurant you've probably seen the word multiple times, often as masoor dal (red lentils), channa dal, or toor dal.  I'm no expert on the specific of these dishes, but if you see the word dal think lentil or split pea.  Similar in consistency to a thick stew, it is commonly served with rice or bread.  I opted to keep it simple and ate it like soup.  With plenty of rain and potentially snow in the forecast I'll gladly savor each spoonful.

Sweet Potato Dal

1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large celery rib, sliced
1/2 lb. sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces (about 1 medium to large)
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger root
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
salt and pepper, to taste

* In a large covered pot heat olive oil over medium to medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery and sweet potato; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until potatoes begin to soften.  Add garlic and ginger and saute 1 minute more.
* Stir in diced tomatoes (and their liquid), basil, coriander, cumin and cayenne.  Add vegetable broth, water and lentils.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes more.

This recipe is based on a randomly acquired photocopied page currently stuffed into one of my recipe folders.  From what I can piece together the original recipe may have come from this cookbook

Food for Thought: "Remember, a real decision is measured by the fact that you've taken new action. If there's no action, you haven't truly decided." -Tony Robbins 

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