Vegan Mofo #5 - Anupy’s Chana and Split Moong Dal with Pepper Flakes
The Region - India
The Book - Vegan Indian Cooking
The Author - Anupy Singla
The Recipe - Chana and Split Moong Dal with Pepper Flakes
Page # 152
Difficulty - Easy - But plan ahead
Duration - Roughly 5 hours. Active time is only about 10 minutes
Today we move on from China and head over to India with an amazing Chana/Moong Dal. Strangely as much as I love a good soup or a stew, and as much as I love dal when it’s served to me in Indian restaurants, making dal at home is just never something I do. My pantry is always stocked with a variety of lentils, beans and spices so it’s not that I don’t have the necessary ingredients, maybe it’s because I’m usually really bad at planning ahead, and this dish in particular requires some forethought.
Indian dals are often made in a pressure cooker, apparently this is one of the most common methods. It helps the dals cook quickly and get creamy. I don’t have a pressure cooker though, so I’d have to cook my dals on the stove, which is certainly possible though more time consuming. I like that for this recipe Anupy uses a slow cooker. That I have, and it makes the whole dish super easy to throw together. However since it’s going into a slow cooker - emphasis on the word slow - this is why you need to plan ahead, otherwise dinner won’t be ready in time.
This is perhaps the easiest and best tasting dal I’ve ever made at home. It really was restaurant quality. I don’t typically order a lot of dal when I’m out, but when we were in London last year we had some poor weather, and since we ended up eating in several Indian restaurants dal was just the ticket. I’ve really been wanting to recreate some of those delicious flavors and Mofo seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that.
This particular dal uses chana dal, and moong dal as the base. It also includes yellow onion, ginger, garlic, tomato, serrano chilies, cumin seeds, turmeric, sea salt, cayenne, water, oil, red pepper flakes and cilantro. My initial thoughts based on the ingredient list is that with 6 cups of water it was going to be bland, and with all that heat it was going to be too spicy. Still I decided to leave the water as specified but I cut back on the spice. I cut the cayenne in half, and used only about three quarters of a jalapeno - I didn’t have serrano peppers. - Honestly I think this was the perfect level of spice for me and my husband. It wasn’t overpowering, so it allowed us to taste all the other flavors of the dish. I also really loved the use of whole cumin seeds rather then ground cumin. They add so much flavor and since they're in the slow cooker so long you don't have to worry about breaking any of your fillings on them.
|Dal in the slow-cooker|
Typically in South India dal and Sri Lanka dal is eaten with rice and vegetables. While in the North of India, Nepal, and Bangladesh dal is eaten with rice and bread. Since I was feeling a bit lazy I decided to forgo the rice and the vegetables and just make some homemade Naan, but you’ll have to wait until later today to hear all about the Naan making process.