I combined 3 popular salads: kale, broccoli and carrot, into one delicious and nutritious salad. Carrot and jicama add natural sweetness and a bit of crunch, Meyer lemon juice and cilantro brighten the flavor; and almonds give an added crunch.
Kale is quite tough and bitter, but a good massage will break down its cell walls. This cell damage frees the enzymes which break apart the bitter chemical compounds. You can even light candles and put on soothing music to relax the kale. Broccoli Broccoli stems are very tender once you peel off the tough outer layer. Broccoli salads are made from grating these stems.
I made this with only one bunch of kale, which created a balance between the kale and the other vegetables. If you like your salad with more kale, add another bunch.
1 bunch Dinosaur kale (also known as Tuscan or Lacinato ), or curly kale ,stems discarded
3 large carrots, peeled
3 or 4 broccoli stems, peeled (use crowns for another purpose)
If you don’t have garlic-infused olive oil, pour extra virgin olive oil into a teacup or ramekin with 1 clove garlic and microwave for 1 ½ minutes. Pour into a food processor with blade and run on high until garlic is minced.
Add tahini and salt to garlic olive oil. Run processor on high until dressing is emulsified. It will be thick.
Strip the leaves from kale and discard the stems. Chop leaves, rinse well in salad spinner and spin dry. Put in a medium bowl.
Roughly squeeze and massage dressing into kale leaves with your hands for several minutes until kale shrinks to half its volume and becomes darker and silky.
Peel carrots, broccoli stems and jicama, then shred using the grater attachment to the food processor.
Add these vegetables and the lemon juice to the kale. Toss salad until the dressing coats it.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with almonds and cilantro leaves. Throw on some pomegranate seeds if they are in season.
Now that summer is officially here and we finally had a nice hot summer’s day, it’s time to make Vietamese style Summer Rolls. They are sometimes called Spring Rolls, although the Spring Rolls are often fried. Summer rolls are made with fresh, raw vegetables, with or without boiled shrimp. Gỏi Cuốn translates literally as salad rolls, which is pretty much what they are: a shrimp salad in a roll. I’ve always loved these for their burst of flavor from the fresh herbs inside heightened by the sweet spiciness of Hoisin (WHO-zjen) sauce and sweet chili sauce.
Many thanks to chefs Cindy Hay (pictured above), Wyn Ha and Jenny Inpraseuth; my Southeast Asian colleagues who cheerfully and patiently taught me to make these.
Asian ingredients are available at most Asian markets and Berkeley Bowl
You can make these Vegetarian/ Vegan with just salad ingredients or add fried tofu.
About 2 cups of medium shrimp. If you buy shrimp in their shells, they make a lovely broth.
3 cups water
1 slice of fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic (use two when making tofu rolls)
1 tsp salt
A slice about a quarter of the tofu in the container
Peanut-Hoisin dipping Sauce
Cindy told me that the sauce needs to have sweet, sour and salty flavors:
1/3 cup reduced shrimp broth. If making vegetarian, boil water with sliced garlic and ginger and 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tablespoons bottled Hoisin sauce (tương ăn phở)
2 Tb plus 1 tsp salted peanut butter (either smooth or crunchy)
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/4 tsp Siracha sauce or chili garlic paste (add more if you like it spicier)
juice from 1/2 lime
1 Tb chopped peanuts
1 package rice paper rounds (bánh tráng)
1 round cake pan or pie pan with warm water
You can vary the salad ingredients, but always include mint, cilantro and basil leaves and rice noodles.
Rice vermicelli noodles (rice sticks) size medium Bún Giang Tây.
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
1/3 cup mint leaves
1/3 cup Thai basil (you can substitute regular basil if you can’t find the more aromatic Thai basil)
4 – 6 green leaf leaves lettuce. Use the upper part of the leaves.
1/2 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and cut in thirds
1 large peeled carrot
2 Persian cucumbers (no need to peel) or 1 peeled pickling cucumber
1/4 peeled small jicama
1/4 red bell pepper
about 6 smap peas, julieened
6 chives, chopped in thirds or 1 scallion, green parts only, sliced thinly and chopped 4 inches long.
You can make the shrimp and Hoisin dipping sauce ahead of time.
Defrost shrimp overnight, or in a colander under cold running water for 7 minutes. While shrimp is defrosting, fill a small pot with 2 cups water and add 1 tsp of salt, ginger and garlic, and bring to a boil. Bring shrimp to boil, then boil over medium high heat for 3 minutes. Drain shrimp in a sieve over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid. Cool shrimp until you are able to handle them. Peel the shrimp and cut in half crosswise (so that each half has the shrimp shape).
Pour the liquid back into the pot. Return the shells, garlic and ginger into the reserved liquid. Boil uncovered for about 10 minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup. Pour over a sieve into a bowl and set aside to cool.
Use firm or extra firm tofu. Cut about a slice about a quarter of the tofu in the container. Wrap it in a clean dish towel.
Place it on a cutting board, then place another cutting board on top. Weigh the top board down with a heavy frying pan with several bags of rice inside.
After about 10 minutes, remove the tofu and unwrap it. Cut it into slabs, then halve them crosswise.
Heat a teaspoon or so of oil in a small frying pan and fry tofu. Use tongs to flip them.
Let fried tofu drain on paper towels. Paint on one side with the peanut sauce:
Hoisin peanut dipping sauce:
Stir 1/3 cup reduced shrimp broth with Hoisin sauce, coconut milk, peanut butter, and siracha in a small pot and heat over medium heat. Stir in lime juice. Pour into a ramiken or small serving bowl. Top with crushed peanuts.
If making vegetarian rolls, use water boiled for 15 minutes with 1/4 tsp salt, a slice of ginger and 2 cloves garlic instead of shrimp broth.
Prepare the noodles:
Boil 12 cups water in a a saucepan. Use about 31/2 oz rice vermicelli noodles, also called rice sticks Bún Giang Tây (about 1/4 of a 14 oz package). Be sure they are size medium, not the very thin vermicelli.
Cook the noodles, uncovered, for 5 minutes in boiling water, stirring occasionally.
Cool them by rinsing them in a sieve under cold water for 2 minutes. Stir and separate the noodles with a fork or chopstick so that they don’t clump up. Let them drain over a bowl.
I use a special Asian vegetable shaver with a zigzag blade called a Kiwi Pro Slice Peeler to shave thin slices of carrots, cucumber and jicama. Rotate the vegetable as you shave it. Discard (or snack on) the cucumber core that has the seeds.
Cut the vegetables very thin and small, Cut the bean sprouts in thirds so they don’t poke through the thin rice wrapper.
Summer rolls are not too hard to make, but the trick is in rolling the sticky rice paper. It comes in a hard, almost plastic-like wafer.
I couldn’t believe it was the same thing as the soft wrapper. Magically it transforms when dipped in warm water. It softens and becomes thinner and pliable. If you dip it flat, it wants to curl up.
The trick is to hold it by the edges and rotate it through the water, then give it a quick dip in the water to wet the middle. The whole process should take about 5 seconds. If it stays too long in the water it will become too thin and tear easily, and stick to itself. If it’s too stiff the wrapper will be too chewy. It will soften on the plate as you add the veggies so that it will be thin and flexible.
Place the rice paper on a damp plate. It will soften within seconds.Put a lettuce leaf and a tablespoon of noodles first to add a cushion for the vegetables.
Then add a few vegetables, and a few mint, basil and cilantro leaves. Avoid over-stuffing the roll. I got excited by all the wonderful ingredients and wanted to add it all in as much as possible. My rolls became bulky and torn. Moderation in all things I remind myself.
Roll wrapper halfway, and then fold left and right sides over the filling. Lay 3 shrimp halves, cut side up, with a few basil, cilantro and mint leaves along the edge of the cylinder.
If using tofu, place three pieces, sauce side down with the herbs
Finish rolling up the summer roll. Cut it in half crosswise to look prettier.
Dip your summer roll in Hoisin Peanut Sauce or sweet chili sauce.
Nopales (no-PA-les) are flat spiky cactus pads of the Nopal (no-PAUL) or prickly pear cactus. Nopalitos (no-pa-LI-tos) are the young pads suitable for eating. They can be cooked and eaten after removing the spikes.
You can buy nopalitos in Mexican grocery stores, de-spiked and sold whole, or chopped into little squares and tucked into a baggie. This is one instance where I go for the processed foods, although I have thought from time to time of planting a nopal in the front yard. The chopped nopalitos will last up to 3 days in the fridge. Similar to okra, nopales get gooey when cooked, while retaining a nice crunch.
I combined the nopalitos with onions, red bell pepper and tomato for color and flavor and stirred them into scrambled eggs.
1 nopal pad, de-spiked (makes about 1/3 cup chopped)
1 tsp olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, copped
¼ large tomato, or 1 small Roma tomato, chopped
5 large eggs
¼ tsp salt
sprinkle of cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
several grinds or shakes of black pepper
several sprigs of chopped cilantro for garnish
Chop onion and sauté in olive oil over medium heat a couple of minutes until it begins to soften. Add nopalitos and red bell pepper and cook about 5 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and cook several more minutes until the tomatoes soften. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and add salt and peppers.
Add the eggs to the vegetables and stir until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
Garnish with cilantro and top with salsa if you desire. Serve with hot tortillas or quesadillas (tortillas heated on a comal or heavy skillet and sprinkled with a bit of cheese).
Achiote paste is used in Mayan Yucatán cusine, the most famous dish being cochinita pibil (literally pork cooked in a pit). The deep red paste is made with ground annatto seed. Friends from tropical countries have told me that they just went to their achiote tree and broke open the pods to use the seeds for a fresh flavor. For the rest of us, buy it in a 3 ½ ounce brick in a small paper box at a Mexican market.
Yucatán cooks use sour oranges, called su’uts’ pak’áal in the Mayan language, which are also known as Seville oranges.. If they are hard to find in the your area, you can substitute juices from one orange, one lime, one lemon and one grapefruit.
The chicken is traditionally served with red onions which have been pickled with salt and lime juice.
Lorena del Carmen, a Mayan woman I know here in Berkeley, inspired me with her recipe. She made her chicken a bit differently though. She first boiled it, then split it in half and painted the achiote mixture on the inside of the chicken. She then baked it. But I’m following her recipe for the onions. Although she didn’t measure the ingredients, I estimated the amounts from watching her make them.
one pack of chicken breast halves (about 5 or 6 halves) and/or thighs
1/2 brick achiote paste
3 Tb olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp sea salt
several grinds black pepper
1 tsp or more to taste Tapatio sauce
Juice of 3 large Seville Oranges
1 1/2 Tb juice from one lime
1 Tb juice from half a lemon
1/3 cup juice from 2 small juice orange
1/3 cup juice from one small grapefruit or half a large grapfruit
1 red onion
1 Tb salt (I like to use sea salt)
Juice from 3 limes
Make the marinade:
In a non-reactive container, mix achiote paste with olive oil, using a fork to make a smooth paste. Add oregano, salt and pepper and mix well.
Add the Tapatio sauce and citrus juices and stir well until no lumps remain.
Stab the chicken a few times on both sides to let the marinade permeate it. Submerge in marinade so that all sides of the meat are covered. Marinade 2 -4 hours.
After you put the chicken in the marinade, make the pickled onions. . Slice a red onion thinly. Put a layer of onions in a non-reactive bowl and sprinkle salt over it, and continue to layer with salt, using a total of 1 Tb salt. Squeeze 3 limes over the onions. mix with your fingers, and then cover with plastic wrap and set aside to marinate until chicken is cooked. The onions will soften when pickled. Stir every so often while the onions are pickling. Serve with the chicken.
Grill meat on barbecue over medium flame.
If you’re not up for barbecuing, you can place the chicken in a shallow baking pan under the broiler for 15 minutes until they brown.
Serve with pickled onions and fresh tortillas. Or make tacos or tostadas with them.
Steak and avocado is a match made in Mexican heaven. I love bistec con aguacate, and these steak tacos are loaded with avocado and fresh tomatoes, red bell pepper and cilantro. They are an easy weeknight meal and economical too: One pound of steak makes 10 generous tacos. Throw a steak on the grill, cut it up with the veggies, add some Frijoles pintos (Mexican pinto beans), and tuck it into a warm corn tortilla. Top it with your favorite salsa and a sprinkling of lime.
Serves 5 – makes 10 tacos
1 pound sirloin steak
2 medium avocados
2 medium fresh tomatoes
½ large red bell pepper
A handful of cilantro leaves
10 fresh corn tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste
Salsa to taste
Let steak sit for ½ an hour at room temperature, then generously salt and pepper it. Oil barbecue grill and heat on high. Grill steak for about 5 minutes on each side, until browned yet rare in the middle. Remove from grill and trim fat. Cut in strips against the grain, then cut into small pieces.
Chop vegetables into small pieces.
Heat tortillas on comal or heavy frying pan until warm and slightly crispy and can hold their shape when folded in half. Spoon steak. Frijoles pintos (Mexican pinto beans), and vegetables into the tortilla, squeeze lime over it and top with salsa to taste.
Somewhere over the rainbow,
In my backyard,
Growing green, red, and yellow,
Organic rainbow chard.
My daughter and I invented this recipe together on Mother’s Day. We started in the backyard where we are growing rainbow chard. This grows in red, white and yellow colors.
We chop it, stems and all, and sauté with onions, shallots, garlic, mushrooms and lemon, and add the Arabic spices sumac and coriander. When the vegetables are tender, we stir into Israeli couscous. We garnish it with cilantro, and toasted pine nuts.
If only achieving peace in the Holy Land was as easy as blending Palestinian and Israeli cuisines!
Serves 6 side dishes:
1 ½ cups Israeli couscous
1 ¾ broth (chicken or vegetable)
½ teaspoon salt to taste
2 Tb lemon juice (Meyer lemon is nice)
1 bunch chard: 10 -12 leaves and stems, washed
2 large cloves shallots, minced
1 onion, quartered and sliced thin
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp sumac
2 tsp zataar or dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup broth
Zest of 1 lemon (Meyer is best)
¼ cup pine nuts
2 Tb cilantro leaves
Boil 2 cups broth in a medium saucepan with salt and lemon juice. Remove ¼ cup and reserve.
While broth is coming to a boil, toast the Israeli couscous in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently about 7 minutes until golden-brown. Add it to the 1 3/4 cups broth and cover. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes until couscous is tender.
While couscous is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Quarter the onion, then slice thinly. Heat 2 Tb olive oil in heavy frying pan. Add onions, sumac, coriander, zataar or thyme, and salt. Sauté until onions are soft and translucent.
Cut mushrooms into quarters and add to onions.
Mince garlic and shallots and add to the onions. Sauté them a few minutes until they turn golden.
Slice the chard stems thinly, and chop the leaves. Add to the onion mixture with the reserved broth, lemon juice and zest. Mix well and cover pan. Cook for 6-8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chard softens.
Toss with the Israeli couscous. Garnish with pine nuts and fresh cilantro leaves if desired.
Oy vey! Nice Jewish girl learns to cook with pork products! My friend Jann made this hearty and delicious pozole with her Mexican husband, Luciano, for their New Years Eve parties. She gave me her recipe using pork shoulder, but the second time I made it I used the leaner pork loin.
Cooked with chilies and hominy and topped with cabbage, oregano, radishes and cilantro, it makes a rich and satisfying stew.
This recipe made 10 servings, including leftovers.
1 gallon chicken broth. For the cross-cultural experience, use Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup.
4 dried red chilies, such as ancho or pasilla chili
2 fresh poblano chili peppers
2 Tb olive oil
2 1/2 pound pork loin.
1 Tb dried oregano
1 head garlic.
3 bay leaves
1 tsp cayenne
1 Tb paprika (Spanish smoked paprika adds a nice smoky flavor)
Several grinds black pepper
1 Tb salt to taste
2 chayotes, peeled, seed area removed, and chopped
39- oz and 15-oz cans of white or purple hominy (maíz blanco o morado)
1 Tb dried oregano
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 cup cilantro leaves
1 small green cabbage, shredded
A bunch of radishes, sliced thin
1 jalapeno, sliced thinly
4 limes, sliced into wedges
Bring the soup stock to boil in a large pot.
Heat a heavy frying pan and toast the dried red chilies and the poblano peppers. Place them in a covered bowl to cool, and then remove the stems and seed pods. Throw them in the stock pot
Pour a tablespoon of olive oil to the frying pan and cook the sliced onions until soft. Slice the poblano chiles and fry up with the onions, then add to the soup. Smash the garlic bulb with a molcajete or mortar and pestle, chop it finely and add it to the soup. Add bay leaves, salt, paprika, black pepper and cayenne.
Cut the pork into large (about 3 x 3) chunks and trim extra fat. Pour another tablespoon of oil to the frying pan and add the pork, sprinkling salt and dried oregano on each side. Brown pork on all sides then put in the stock. After pork is browned, add 2 ladles of hot broth to the frying pan to deglaze it. Using a metal spatula, loosen all the browned bits into the broth and then pour it back into the pot.
Simmer the soup at low-medium heat for 1 ½ hours.
Pour the soup into a large container and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the congealed fat from the top of the soup. Pour the broth through a sieve into a large pot, and heat it. Pour the solids into a bowl. Remove the red chili and strip whatever skin from it that you can. Put in a blender with 2 cups of broth and run blender on high, then add to the broth in the pot, rinsing the blender with broth several times to get all the chili out.
While broth is cooking, shred or chop the meat, discarding bones and fat, and then add the shredded meat to the broth. Add chopped chayotes and hominy. Adjust salt to taste. Simmer for 30 minutes, until chayote is tender, and then scoop into bowls.
Top with condiments, squeeze a bit of lime in, roll up a few warm corn tortillas to dip in the soup, y disfrútelo.
It’s dress rehearsal time again for my daughter’s dance company, and the parents are assigned to bring food for each meal. Sonia told me they needed a break from pasta, so we decided on enchiladas.
I made 21 enchiladas in a ¼ sheet baking pan. I made 10 more for the vegetarians, using pepper jack slices crumbled into Frijoles pintos along with the vegetables. You can make the broth below without the chicken for a vegetarian sauce. I topped them with the heated sauce, more pepper jack, fresh cilantro leaves and olives after baking.
16 cups (1 gallon) of water
2 chopped onions
8 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp. chipotle powder
3 Tb cumin powder (comino)
2 Tb. dried oregano
2 cups diced Roma (plum) tomatoes or 15 oz can diced tomatoes (fire roasted is nice)
1 sliced bell pepper
2 Tb. salt to taste
8 each pasilla and California chilies
6 – oz can tomato paste
1 whole chicken
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced in rounds
3 large red potatoes, peeled and chopped in bite-size chunks
3 large chayote, peeled, seed area removed, and chopped in bite-size chunks
2 Tb flour
21 corn tortillas for chicken enchiladas, plus 10 more for bean and cheese ones
1 can black olives
1 cup cotija cheese
1 bunch fresh cilantro
Avocados to garnish
Ideally the best way to make this is to make the chicken first, then let it cool enough to handle. Pour the broth into a container and refrigerate it until the fat congeals, then remove it. Make the sauce from the defatted broth. I didn’t have the time to do this, so made it all in one day. I used a fat separator cup to de-fat the broth. This nifty little gadget pours out the broth from the bottom of the cup as the grease rises; I then discard the fat.
Making the chicken: For this batch, I boiled a whole chicken with the spices, onions and other ingredients above. Toast the chilies on a comal or heavy skillet first to maximize their flavor. Reserve 2 Tb of tomato paste for the sauce. I used pretty much the same recipe I used for Tamales de pollo Chicken Tamales. It’s true you have to watch out for the chicken bones and you will get the grease, but the broth will be richer and it’s more economical than boneless breasts, especially if the chicken is on sale!
After 40 minutes, I add the carrots, potatoes and chayote. After the chicken has cooked an hour, I turn off the heat and pull the chicken out of the broth into a large bowl. Since I was running out of time, I set the bowl inside a larger bowl (actually the bottom of my salad spinner) that I filled with a layer of ice cubes, to cool down the chicken. Using a fork and knife, I pulled the meat off the bones until it’s cool enough to handle.
I discard the skin, gristle and bones, and use my hands to shred the chicken. I then pour a cup or two of broth into the chicken, mixing it with my hands, so that the shredded chicken can absorb the flavors. You can cook it in a frying pan for 15 minutes to help it absorb the broth. Save the leftover broth to make sauce and Tortilla Soup, bién rica or Cocido de Res – Mexican Beef Stew
Mix some beans (Frijoles pintos) and the vegetables (carrots, potatoes and chayote) into the shredded chicken.
Making the sauce: This will make a nice spicy sauce. Pour about 4 cups of broth into a fat separator cup. Pour the defatted broth into a blender and discard the fat. Add 2 Tb flour and 2 Tb tomato paste. Fish out the chili peppers and bell peppers from the pot and add them to the sauce. Whir in the blender a few minutes until smooth. I don’t peel the chili pods or discard the seeds. They just go into the sauce. If you don’t want such spicy sauce, you can discard the seeds and you can add more tomato paste. But remember, the sauce will taste hotter alone than it will be over the enchiladas. The tortillas are bland, as is the cheese, and the cilantro and avocado will cool it down a bit too. Heat the sauce in a medium saucepan for about 20 minutes, stirring until thickened. Adjust salt and let cool enough to handle.
Assembling the enchiladas: Preheat oven to 375’ and grease a large pan with nonstick spray. Pour a few inches of sauce into a shallow flat-bottomed bowl. Place a large plate nearby. Heat a comal or heavy griddle or skillet and place one or two tortillas on it until they are hot and softened, and barely crisp. Take out one of the tortillas and briefly immerse each side in the sauce until it is coated with the sauce, then place it on the plate.
Take a few tablespoons of the chicken mixture (double-check with your fingers that you have removed all the little rib bones) and place it inside the tortilla. Then roll it up and place it seam side down on the greased pan. Repeat. It’s nice to have a partner place the tortillas on the comal for you. When the pan is full, place it in the oven for 20 minutes, until the tortillas begin to dry out.
While enchiladas are baking, crumble cotija cheese in a small bowl, and add a few handfuls of cilantro leaves. Open a can of black olives and drain it. Heat remaining sauce to boiling. When enchiladas have baked, pour a line of sauce down the middle of the enchiladas. Sprinkle the cotija cheese – cilantro mix over them and place a black olive in the middle of each enchilada. Nice served with soft sliced avocados.
For Cinco de Mayo I am making fajitas: spicy from two kinds of chili, fragrant with lime, and tipsy on beer. This recipe was inspired by my late brother-in-law and Texas barbecue master, Larry Luna. The juicy and flavorful chicken is twice cooked, first on the grill, then braised in the oven with its marinade. I made chicken fajitas here, but you can also make them with skirt steak. Marinade the steak for at least 3 hours, grill it whole, then cut across the grain into strips before braising it in the marinade.
¼ cup boiling water
3 dried chilies such as Chile California, stems removed
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 cup light-colored beer such as Tecate
2 limes, juiced; zest peeled in long strips
1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast fat trimmed and sliced, or 2-3 lb skirt steak.
1 small onion, sliced
4 bell peppers (1 red and 3 green), seeded and cut into strips
2 Tb olive oil
If using skirt steak, slice against the grain and cut into strips. Trim off the fat. Using a tenderizing mallet, pound each strip so that the tenderizing marks show. This is a good way to work out your frustrations and aggressions.
Add chilies to boiling water and let soak for at least 15 minutes. Peel lime zest with vegetable peeler into a long strip, then juice limes. Pour beer, 1 Tb olive oil, and lime juice in blender. Add chilies, jalapeños, soaking water and other seasonings to beer mixture. Whir in blender. Trim fat off of breast, cut into strips, and marinate for an hour or more.
Place chicken on grill, reserving marinade. Put bell peppers and onion in a grill wok and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil. Grill over medium heat until chicken and onions and bell peppers begin to char. (You can also use a wok or heavy pan over the stove).
Fragrant with cumin and a touch of curry, ginger and garlic, these lentils are flavorful comfort food on a cold evening. This recipe was inspired by Faryal, a Pakistani friend who showed me how to cook her delicious lentils. I also use this recipe for Chana Dall, which is a South Asian yellow lentil.
2 cups washed lentils
6 cups boiling water (8 cups if making soup)
1 Tb olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tb of cumin
½ tsp to taste red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp of curry powder
½ tsp ginger powder
1 ½ tsp grated ginger
1 ½ tsp grated turmeric or ½ tsp turmeric powder
several grinds of black pepper
1-2 tsp salt to taste (after lentils are cooked)
Heat olive oil in the bottom of a large heavy pot. Add a finely chopped onion When onion softens, add cumin, garlic, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, curry powder, ginger. and several grinds of black pepper. Heat a few minutes then add 2 cups washed lentils and 6 cups boiling water (8 cups if making soup) Bring to a boil, then turn on low and cover. It should take about an hour. Stir every so often. Keep an eye out to add more water if needed.
I made these for Hanukkah and added the onion juice from the grated onions I’d made for latkes after they had sat for awhile. This upped the flavor another notch.
Do not add salt until the lentils are fully cooked, as the salt toughens them. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve lentils with grated sharp cheddar, if desired. Also good with fresh cilantro.