Red Split Lentils With Cabbage (Masoor dal aur band gobi) with Cucumber Scallion Raita
Lentilles rouges et chou a l’indienne et sauce au yogourt et au concombre.
Red lentils in a soup, ok, but boiled with cabbage and onions?? Les sceptiques seront confondus!
I have a new favorite dish and this time, although it is a little labor intensive – yeah… you will need a good hour and a half to make this one happen – it is incredibly cheap. With the simplest Indian dishes, once you have the few spices that come back all the time (namely cumin, cilantro and turmeric, which a lot of health-conscious people already put everywhere anyway), you can limit yourself to buying peas, lentils, potatoes, cauliflower and cabbage and create amazingly tasteful and even good looking meals.
I have to admit that I was very skeptical about this dish. It was in the Madhur Jaffrey book that Dennis and I received when we got married – merci Nancy!! – and although I used it a lot over the summer and loved it, I stayed away from the cabbage and red lentil dishes. “Red lentils in a soup, ok, but boiled with cabbage and onions?? Come on, we’re no organically raised farm animals!” Recently though, one of my “sources” mentioned her favorite Indian recipes in her beautifully illustrated blog. She made one cauliflower recipe, one raita and this Madhur Jaffrey recipe. I cooked the whole meal although my main interest rested mostly in the cauliflower and the raita. I did the lentils as well because we already had most of the ingredients and it seemed very cheap so why not try? As I said before, I only work part-time now, I have to be reasonable!
Well… although the cauliflower was good, I find myself waking up in the morning craving boiled lentils, cabbage and onions. I know it sounds weird but just try it.
I will put the two recipes separately but ideally, put the lentils in water first, then do the raita and finally proceed with the rest of the lentil recipe. This way the raita will be more flavorful than if you do it right before serving. Serve it with the lentils to cool the spices – I put it in a bowl in the center of the table, as a condiment.
Red Split Lentils With Cabbage (Masoor dal aur band gobi)
Madhur Jaffrey, Indian Cooking
Serves 4 to 6
1¼ cups red split lentils (masoor dal), picked over, washed and drained
5 cups water
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into fine slices
½ pound cored and finely shredded cabbage
1 to 2 fresh, hot green chilies, finely sliced – I used jalapenos
1½ teaspoons salt
1 medium tomato, finely chopped – it should officially be peeled…
½ teaspoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
Put the lentils and water into a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Remove any scum that collects at the top. Add the turmeric and stir to mix. Cover, leaving the lid very slightly ajar, turn heat down to low, and simmer gently for 1¼ hours. Stir a few times during the last 30 minutes.
When the lentils cook, heat the oil in a 20 to 23 centimeter (8 to 9 inch) frying pan over medium heat. When hot, put in the cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for 3 to 4 seconds. Now put in the garlic. As soon as the garlic pieces begin to brown, put in the onion, cabbage and green chilies. Stir and fry the cabbage mixture for about 10 minutes or until it begins to brown and turn slightly crisp (it took me a lot more than 10 minutes). Stir in ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Turn off the heat under the frying pan.
When the lentils have cooked for 1¼ hours, add the remaining 1¼ teaspoon salt, the tomato and ginger to the pot. Stir to mix. Cover and cook another 10 minutes. Combine with the cabbage mixture and any remaining oil in the frying pan. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer.
Simmer uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cabbage is heated through.
Cucumber Scallion Raita
In a medium sized bowl, combine:
¼ cup finely chopped English (seedless cucumber)
1 thinly sliced scallion
¾ cup yogurt
½ teaspoon salt
Serve as a condiment for the lentil dish.
Image from www.goodnessdirect.co.uk