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26 February 2008 @ 08:56 pm
A few months past, I bookmarked a recipe for spinach dahl. Looked pretty good, and I liked all of the ingredients, so hey! Win!

Only... not so much. I made it tonight. It was fine, really...

... but it was a bit bland.

Thing is, when I'm making a new recipe I usually follow it the first time and then adjust and adapt and have fun with it the next. But I'm not remotely knowledgeable about Indian cooking, so I'm not sure how to fix this. I don't want it hot/spicy, just richer.

Original recipehere. I've made adjustments to the body of the recipe here to reflect my own preparations. It may be worth nothing that I did not make garlic bread; instead, I heated up Trader Joe's garlic nan. ::mmmmmm::

Spinach Dahl

1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, halved, finely chopped
8 small red bliss potatoes, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 cups water
1 tbs tomato paste
1 can brown lentils, rinsed, drained
1 bag baby spinach leaves

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and potato and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the cumin and coriander and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic.

Add the water and tomato paste and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until liquid reduces by half.

Add the lentils to the potato mixture and cook for 2 minutes or until heated through. Add spinach and stir until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

So what do I do? Cut down on the cumin and add garam masala, maybe? Or is that too hot? bah. Help!
Tags: ,
I feel: thoughtfulthoughtful
Angelosomnamscream on February 27th, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
Wellll....If you want it to be generally richer, without the heat, you coild always use a bit more tomato paste, and for the amount you use, cut in a bit of stewed tomatoes. The tomato paste will vastly increase the richness of the flavor. The Masala might help too.

Oh and on a compeltely non-sequitorial note...one of my professors is good friends with Guy Gavriel Kay, and in fact has lunch with him a couple of times of the year. Don't know if I told you that, but I was talking about it to the boy, and made a mental not to tell you.

Ok. Those are my two cents...:)
Kelladyjoust on February 27th, 2008 02:59 am (UTC)
See, I was thinking of adding diced tomatoes, so this is good. I'll try and see what comes of it. I'm also going to look for the masala tomorrow; I'd rather not have to make it myself if I don't have to.

As to the other bit: *is ded*

I can not even imagine breathing the same air as Kay, much less lunching - and speaking - with him. I'm fluttery even thinking about it. But then, I'm a huge ol' dork. :P
Ea Quae Legiteaquaelegit on February 27th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
He was supposed to come and speak at my Arthurian Legends class once, but he cancelled. I was muchly disappointed.
harpiegirl4harpiegirl4 on February 27th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
I would add garam masala and more tomato paste, definitely. If you're ever at Grand Central Station, the gourmet market there has a spice booth that sells some really, really good ones.

By the way, I can't wait to try the crock pot chicken chili recipe you posted recently! If you have any more crock pot recipes, please share! I love being able to throw some stuff in the crock pot, go to work, and have dinner ready when I get home! Leaves more time for composing at night (especially if I can bribe Cody into doing the dishes). :)
curdnerdcurdnerd on February 27th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
I used to make something similar, a sort of South Indian dish, called alu shag, which simply means potatoes and spinach.

Clean the spuds, cut them into bit-sized pieces, skin on. Parboil for a few minutes until not quite fork-tender, then drain and let them cool uncovered so that they dry.

In a skillet, melt a goodly knob of butter, ghee, bacon fat, duckfat, or what have you (not dragon fat, it burns, oddly). Add a goodly amount of garam masala, whisk it in as if you were making a roux, and cook it just for a minute or two, being careful not to burn the fat. If you want a spicier dish, throw a few dried hot chilis in for this step, and fish them out when you get to the desired heat.

Toss the parboiled potatoes into the seasoned fat, and stir them around until they are coated with the masala-tinged butter. Add some diced onion if you please, and cook uncovered, medium heat, until the potatoes are fork-tender and perhaps a bit crispy.

Then add the spinach, cut tobacco-style, and stir gently until spinach is wilted. I like to add a bit of yoghurt right before serving, but the Injuns don't generally.

Kelladyjoust on February 28th, 2008 04:35 am (UTC)
That sounds supremely yummy. Now my only roadblock is finding garam masala. I rather thought it would be relatively simple to procure. Alas, no.

Ilena Ayalanetsearcher on February 28th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
Penzey's spices and they sell online too!
mothehappycowmothehappycow on March 1st, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
To avoid adding spice to the dish, but still maintaining a fullness of flavor go with something traditionally Indian like Lime leaves, turmeric, cinnamon or orange zest. Lemon works well too. If you use lemon juice or lime juice, I would add about 3 Tbs just after the spices have finished cooking.

Also, a major ingreditent in Indian cuisine is actually garlic. I would saute about a teaspoon of minced garlic in with the spices, before you add the lemon juice.

I know you aren't looking for spicing it up, but a half a drop of chili sauce (I usually use sweet red chili sauce or yellow curry paste works well too) rounds out the flavor.

If you've got any questions about food at any time, feel free to drop a line. I graduated from culinary school.

I wish you luck!