"Meaty" flavor in a plant-based red lentil dal

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"Meaty" flavor in a plant-based red lentil dal

Postby Robin Garr » Thu Dec 26, 2013 11:22 pm

"Meaty" flavor in a plant-based red lentil dal

Red lentils, boosted by browned onions and plenty of Indian spice, make about as “meaty” a meatless dish as I can imagine. Filling and heart-warming, this is one of the most enjoyable variations on Indian dal (lentil soup) that I’ve come across yet.

Red lentil and onion coconut dal
(serves two)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup red lentils
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/3 onion, finely chopped
1/3 red bell pepper cut into 1/2 inch dice
2-4 ounces chopped green chiles (I used canned)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Dried red-pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1/6 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups water
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
fresh cilantro and lime wedges for serving

Procedure:

1. Measure out the lentils and rinse them very well, picking over to remove any stones or foreign objects. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat the peanut oil in a large saute pan and add the onions, red bell pepper, green chiles and red and black pepper and cook for 5 minutes until the onions have softened and start to brown. Add the garlic, spices and tomato paste and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the mixture is fragrant.

3. Add the lentils and water and cook uncovered at medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, adding the coconut milk for the last few minutes of cooking and stirring in the lemon juice and salt to taste at the end.

4. Check seasoning and serve, topped with fresh cilantro and extra limes on the side.

Modified from a recipe found at the “Scaling Back” blog, “Getting Small in a Super-Sized World.”
http://www.scalingbackblog.com/savory-b ... 117996741/
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Re: "Meaty" flavor in a plant-based red lentil dal

Postby Paul Winalski » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:12 pm

Are these red lentils the hulled and split ones known as masoor dal?

-Paul W.
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Re: "Meaty" flavor in a plant-based red lentil dal

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:19 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:Are these red lentils the hulled and split ones known as masoor dal?

Synonymous, as far as I know, although since I'm not Indian, I usually call them "red lentils," the same as our local whole foods grocery, Rainbow Blossom, does on the bulk bins. :lol:
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Re: "Meaty" flavor in a plant-based red lentil dal

Postby Karen/NoCA » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:32 pm

I noticed you cut the recipe down from 2 cups lentils. In the comments section, is was stated that this soup freezes very well. It would also be great for a few lunches. Sounds delicious.
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Re: "Meaty" flavor in a plant-based red lentil dal

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:57 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:I noticed you cut the recipe down from 2 cups lentils. In the comments section, is was stated that this soup freezes very well. It would also be great for a few lunches. Sounds delicious.

Yeah, I just wanted to make enough for two. If I want it again, I'll make it again, and maybe try something or other a little different the next time. :lol:
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Re: "Meaty" flavor in a plant-based red lentil dal

Postby Peter May » Sun Dec 29, 2013 1:13 pm

Looks good, and thicker than many dals and I'm going to give it a go.

I was intrigued by changes from the recipe that you referenced - and the changes they made from the source recipe they referred to.

One of the changes in the above is an increase in salt - the original recipe for 6 servings has two teaspoons of salt, the one above has one teaspoon of salt but for 2 servings.

That works out that one serving has more than half the daily recommended amount for a fit person under 51 and, at 1,162 almost the entire amount for a person above . Since I'm over that age and have high BP one of my changes will be in the amount of added salt.*

*A single teaspoon of table salt has 2,325 milligrams (mg) of sodium.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day — or 1,500 mg if you're age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
Keep in mind that these are upper limits, and less is usually best...

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/NU00284
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Re: "Meaty" flavor in a plant-based red lentil dal

Postby Robin Garr » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:01 pm

Peter May wrote: salt

Actually, I simply eyeball salt amounts and don't particularly overdo, but I am not at all obsessive about it either. Mary and I are fortunate not to have hypertension issues, and as I understand it, the direct link between salt consumption and blood pressure is tenuous at best.

"Salt to taste" works just fine for me.
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Re: "Meaty" flavor in a plant-based red lentil dal

Postby Peter May » Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:45 am

excuse me being picky, but is the measure
2-4 ounces chopped green chiles
correct?

Main ingredient is
1/2 cup red lentils
which would be 3.5 ounces

so the proportion of chiles would be 57%-114% of the lentils.
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Re: "Meaty" flavor in a plant-based red lentil dal

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:05 am

Peter May wrote:excuse me being picky, but is the measure
2-4 ounces chopped green chiles
correct?

Main ingredient is
1/2 cup red lentils
which would be 3.5 ounces

so the proportion of chiles would be 57%-114% of the lentils.

Peter, Lentils are like rice. They blow up when you cook them. For us, a half-cup of lentils (four ounces by volume) makes plenty for two. Enough to fill probably two cups or more by volume when the dish is done. Green chiles don't do that. I can only testify to the pleasing proportions when the dish is done.

Personally, I have to confess that when cooking (as opposed to baking bread, for instance, where proportions are critical), I cook much more by eye and feel than by focusing on numbers.
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Re: "Meaty" flavor in a plant-based red lentil dal

Postby Peter May » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:06 pm

lentil-coconut.jpg
My lunch today, RED LENTIL & BUTTERNUT COCONUT DAL
lentil-coconut.jpg (40.36 KiB) Viewed 612 times
Inspired by Robin’s recipe I determined to make it, and did so today and had it for lunch.

The half bell pepper that I’d reserved earlier in the week had been taken by another family member in the meantime so I decided to use some butternut to give body and texture to the dal.

RED LENTIL & BUTTERNUT COCONUT DAL
Serves 2
350 calories per serving

110 g ( ½ cup) red lentils
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1/3 onion, finely chopped
1/3 butternut cut into ½ inch dice
2 red birds eye chillies, chopped
½ stalk lemon grass
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped

Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon hot curry powder
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
2 tablespoons tomato paste
200 ml (2 cups) water
100 ml (1/2 cup) unsweetened coconut milk


1. Measure out the lentils and rinse them very well, picking over to remove any stones or foreign objects. Drain and set aside.

2. Gently fry the onion and chillies in oil until softened. Add the garlic, cinnamon and curry powder and stir for a minute then add tomato paste and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the mixture is fragrant.

3. Add 100ml (1 cup) water and stir to blend the tomato paste evenly then add the lentils and raise the heat to a simmer. Add the chopped butternut and 50ml (½ cup) water and cook uncovered at medium heat, adding more water if it gets too dry. After 20 minutes check the doneness of the butternut with the point of a knife. When knife slips in easily add the coconut milk and cook for another few minutes to integrate. Remove the lemon grass and serve.

Robin made changes from the recipe that was his inspiration, and that person had changed their version from the one that was their inspiration, so what did I change and why?
-I substituted butternut for bell pepper. This added good texture to the meal.
-Fewer chillies, the original had madras curry powder, dried chile flakes, and 2-4 ounces of green chillies plus ground black pepper which altogether seemed too much. Maybe the tinned green chillies weren’t hot and maybe madras doesn’t mean ‘very hot’ in USA. I used two fresh hot red birds-eye chillies and ‘fiery & spicy’ hot curry powder and the dish had a nice good kick to it. But if it hadn’t I would do as I often do which is to add more chopped chillies on top when served.
-Lemongrass instead of lemon-juice. I had a stalk of lemon-grass left over and used that during the cooking; I decided after tasting not to add lemon juice .
-No added salt. I thought my version was plenty flavoursome and it’s easy to sprinkle on salt after serving if you want it.
-No coriander garnish. When I went to pick leaves for the garnish I found the plants in the garden had vanished.
Attachments
lentil-coconut-ingredients.jpg
Assembling the ingredients.
lentil-coconut-ingredients.jpg (47.59 KiB) Viewed 613 times
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