ForumsThe TavernSo What Did You Cook Today?

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(Should this be a Tavern thread, or rather a pop culture thing? Well, where do us weary web roamers sit us down for a healthy bite, after all... )

OK, so why not let's start this off: Inspired by the Food thread, here's the So What Did You Cook Today? thread, to leave behind all your recipes for the betterance of your fellow souls having the munchies.

Today's starter (a side dish, to be precise), Indian dal makhani (creamy or "rich" lentils).

Cobbled together from various recipes really, my first go ever at this the other day didn't turn out bad really, and not at all unlike this favorite dish whilst on the road over there, if I may say so myself. A traditional North Indian dish I gather, or more precisely Punjabi even, I find soupy results for this even, however the way I know and like it, it should come out a creamy, half-fried half-soft texture, indeed, let's say somewhat as in the accompanying pic, perhaps a little thicker even. Adjust to taste and at will, no doubt.

Without further ado then:

Dal makhani
The Mac way.

Take 6 units urad dal (black lentils) : 1 unit of of rajma (kidney beans).

[Note of the various types of lentils I had around I chose me my what are called green-brown ones over here, and skipping on the kidney beans altogether, they should be a very nice addition though. Dried kidney beans you'll want to leave to soak in ample water overnight -- or say at least from the early morning if you plan to cook them that evening --, then cook for approx. 45 minutes, perhaps an hour to get them soft as called for here; black lentils I'm not sure about, however save for the red and yellow varieties which may need just some 10 minutes to cook, I find most will be just fine with 45 mins. cooking period, no soaking beforehand required.]

In a dry pan, briefly toast cumin seeds, salt, green chili, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, chili powder if desired, turmeric powder. The cumin seeds and perhaps cardamom may start popping and the chili somewhat darken, and the spices should start giving off a nice fragrance, not burn.

Grind these in a mortar & pestle (removing the cardamom husks first), together with chopped garlic and ginger, both in equal portions.

In half butter (or no doubt ghee)-half oil, briefly fry the spicy paste. Add finely chopped onion, fry. Add tomato puree, fry. Again, it should all take on color and take on a nice fragrance, not burn, needless to say

Add well-cooked beans, stir and fry. Add some cream and/or water as desired, stir and fry. Leave to simmer, occasionally stirring.

Serve sprinkled with freshly chopped coriander & cream. (Note I used soy cream for this recipe which I happened to have standing around, worked as well as looked just fine & just like the real thing.)

Bon appetit Goes well with rice and/or Indian breads (roti or chapati, naan and the likes), and one or more of your favorite curries, veggie or I guess meat or seafood if you happen to swing that way. Me, on this occasion I enjoyed it wih indeed white basmati rice, some papadams, an impromptu curry of pumpkin & parsnip, and some (hot!) mango pickles on the side.

Notes: For lack of a mortar & pestle, a blender may be used, however purists would insist the result isn't quite the same, and the flavors won't "blend" quite as well.

Note #2: How much of it all, one might ask. Well, sorry, I don't cook that way, and so mostly do it by hand/by instinct. Practice makes perfect, and all that, so don't hesitate to just get busy experimenting

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