January 10, 2012

Warm Chana Dal for Dinner

This weekend I made a big pot of Chana Dal using the Madras Rasam spices Timothy gave me for Christmas and some of my home canned organic tomatoes.  Oh it turned out so nice.  I quickly put half of it in the freezer for an easy warm meal another day.  This is a mildly spicy soup or stew, depending on how thick you make it, just right for a cold afternoon or evening.  I'm looking forward to a nice warm bowl right after this post.  I love the first few tastes of this soup because I really feel and taste the smokiness of the toasted spices I added at the end. 

Chana Dal with Tomatoes

    * 1 c. chana dal
    * 7 c. water
    * 1 t. salt
    * 1/4 t. each cayenne, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder
    * 1 T. vegetable oil
    * 1/4 t. black mustard seeds
    * 2 clove garlic, chopped
    * 1 large can of tomatoes, chopped raw tomatoes works great also, about 2 cups
    *  4 teaspoons Madras Rasam powder

Measure the dal into a bowl and sort through it to remove any dark dal, small stones or other debris. Soak the chana dal in 4 c. water for 2-3 hours, then wash under running water and drain.
Bring 3 c. water and the salt to boil in a medium-size pot. Add the chana dal and wait for the water to begin its second boil, then cover the pot and cook over medium-to-low eat for 30 min. At this time, remove the cover and stir up the dal. To the open pot add the cayenne, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and the madras rasam powder. Stir well and allow to simmer uncovered while you prepare the next step. I added the tomatoes at this point. 

In a separate small pot or frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over low heat and add the mustard seeds and chopped garlic to it. When the oil gets hot, the mustard seeds will begin to pop (really. and they may spatter a bit.). When they have ceased popping, add the oil mixture to the simmering pot of dal.

Cayenne, Coriander, Tumeric, Cumin, Garlic, Madras Rasam, Black Mustard Seeds, and a Dash of Curry Powder

Immediately cover the pot and keep covered for 2 min. while the dal continues to simmer. Then remove the cover and stir once with a spoon to mix in the new ingredients. Cook uncovered for another 5 min. and the dal is ready to be served with rice or bread.

I made some brown and wild rice to serve it with this week, but so far I've just had the soup.  I almost thought the bowl in the freezer might have to come out right away.  A very easy and tasty vegan dish.

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