Monday, 10 March 2008

comfort in the storm: tarka dal and kale with garlic and ginger

Yes, ok, it's true - us Brits do have a tendency to bang on about the weather. Believe me, if you lived here, you'd go on about it, too.

Right now, though, there's some justification. As I type, it's as black as hell out there, the rain is lashing against my window (thank God for double glazing), and the wind is blowing the trees around like there's no tomorrow. Oh, and the cats are going mental. Yes, we're having something of a storm.

There's nothing for it in times like these but to batten down the hatches (if you don't have hatches, then at least check your windows), and to settle down with the kind of food that'll warm you up from the inside and make you feel glad that you don't have to go outside. Except, in my case, I have to take the bins out tonight. Grrr.

I digress.

So, um, how about some dal and kale? Sounds ok? Lovely, buttery tarka dal with earthy, chewy kale with garlic and some zingy ginger? Great - let's crack on, then.

The tarka dal I make comes from Madhur Jaffrey's Simple Indian Cookery. This is my remembered 'free' version - I make it so often, I never get the recipe out these days.

So - for a couple of healthy appetites, you'll need 3oz red lentils and 3oz chana dal. Rinse in cold water, and put in a pan with 750ml cold water and half a teaspoon of turmeric. Bring to the boil with the lid off - then turn the heat down to a simmer. Skim off the impurities. Let it all bubble away, with the lid 3/4 on, for about 40-50 minutes, or until the lentils are tender and the water has almost all disappeared. Pour yourself a glass of vino, or go and do something else in the meantime.

Once the lentils are done, turn off the heat and stir in half to a teaspoon of salt, to taste. Put the lid on fully. Set aside.

In a small frying pan, pour about 2-3 tbsps of groundnut or olive oil, and place over a high heat. When the oil is hot, throw in half a teaspoon of cumin seeds, and let sizzle for 10 seconds. Then lob in 2 dried red chillis and as many peeled garlic cloves as you fancy - I think the recipe says one or two, but I always end up doing about 4 or 5. Fry until the chillis go dark and the garlic cloves take on some colour - a matter of a few seconds. Take the lid off the lentil pan, and pour the hot oil, spices, and garlic into it. Slam the lid down again - the lentils and oil will spit at you. It's not personal, it's just what happens. Done. You might want to add in an extra knob or two of butter for additional yumminess. I'm not policing your cholesterol levels for you.

For the kale, I really just make this up. Pour 2-3 tbsps olive or groundnut oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Quickly saute some chopped ginger and garlic - whatever quantities you like - and chilli flakes and garam masala. Drop in the chopped kale (again, however much you fancy), and add a tbsp or so of water. Slam on the lid, and let steam for a few moments. Take the lid off, and turn the kale over to ensure it cooks evenly, and that the garlic et al coat the leaves thoroughly. Season the lot. When the kale's wilted, but still bright green and with texture, it's ready.

Serve, and eat immediately. Not that you wouldn't. Your only problem at this point should be whether to eat the dal first...

dal and kale

... or the kale...


kale and dal

Tricky, isn't it?

Oh, and if you really can't manage all the dal in one sitting, it keeps brilliantly. It's fantastic for breakfast. Honest. Or lunch, then, if you really must be so conventional.

Sigh. Don't tell me you never eat weird stuff for breakfast?

29 comments:

michelle @ TNS said...

that looks so, so much better than the sandwich i just had for lunch. i've never made dal, and i'll have to start. also, star anise = love.

i've never understood recipes that call for 1 or 2 cloves of garlic. 1 or 2? i don't think i've ever made anything using less than 4, and that's going easy.

Shandy said...

I live on the Northwestern side of the US are also getting ready to have a bad storm this afternoon. Thank you for the comment on the salmon puff pastries and your dal and kale looks delicious! don't think I have ever had dal before but now I am definitely going to have to try it! Yum! =D

Maria V said...

there's something i love about british weather - it inclines you to read (and write) more, whereas if you've lived here long enough, you know that the constant sun over your head numbs your brain cells.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I love "weird stuff" for breakfast - because I am more a savory person when it comes to breakfast..and I do love leftovers! :)
Looks great!

Kevin said...

That looks good. I don't eat lentils nearly enough.

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Looks delicious!

Heather said...

Haaha! I actually do eat leftover dinner for brekkie, often. I ate leftover Thai food for breakfast just last week, as a matter of fact.

Your dal is to die for, truly.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

My favorite time to cook is when it's stormy out. Then, I don't feel guilty about not being out doing other things.

The dal looks really delicious. I love Indian foods.

Cakelaw said...

This sounds great - and I love the fact that you can put it on and have time to go and have a nice glass (or two!) of vino while it's cooking.

kittie said...

Mmmm... I cooked lentils last night, and was feeling quite pleased with myself - but now I wish I'd cooked dal instead!
(PS also buffeted by storm, come on summer...!)

Pixie said...

Ooh tough choice, think I would likely grab the kale first. Looks great!

Sylvie said...

How could anybody not like to have two such colourful bowls of wonderful food in front of them You have to convince me about the dal for breakfast idea though. ;-)

Melinda said...

The storm wasn't too bad in South Oxfordshire. Usually we get battered.
I have to take the bins out tonight and the second wave of the storm is suppose to hit. (I am glad someone else worries over the bin taking out and it's contents being spread everywhere around the village.)
The Dal and Kale look delicious and good warming storm food!
I get all worried when it storms like this now. The storms of 89 and 93 saw us without electricity for 5 days. Yikes! I need to buy more candles.

David Hall said...

Beautiful, I love dhal. And I love your posts!

Cheers
David

Syrie said...

Looks fantastic. I love daal and I just recently discovered kale. It has such a lovely texture. I ate leftover dulce de leche pie for breakfast on Tuesday. Ssshh don't tell.

Helen said...

That looks so comforting and yes, I always eat weird stuff for breakfast. My favourite is some sort of left over curry or most days I eat sandwiches. In fact, I can't remember the last time I ate something that was meant for the breakfast table.

Big Boys Oven said...

I like the texture and the colour of the dal! You can have it with ready made chapatti, I think Tesco should have them! cool!

Nick said...

I don't even think I've ever had kale but it looks good but especially the dal looks very good. I've never cooked Indian food before and very rarely eat it. When I do have, I usually enjoy it a lot, especially considering they use a lot of lentils and vegetables and is usually healthy (when there's no cream in the curry).

Sounds like a nice warm dish and for some reason I'm quite chilly right now, even though it's like 60 degrees out. Thanks for warming me up just a tiny bit.

- The Peanut Butter Boy

Indigo said...

My friend Clare wins at weird stuff for breakfast (think leftover macaroni cheese, cherry cheesecake, cold mushroom risotto...) but I think this dal could tempt me even in the morning; gorgeous colours ^__^

Johanna said...

weather and curry - that doesn't sound at all british (just kidding!) :-)

Love your description of making dahl - it really is a comfort activity as much as a recipe isn't it!

BTW Are you interested in making a nut roast for an event I am holding - this is one of my comfort foods that I am encouraging others to make by 18 April and send to me - if you are interested check out my blog at http://gggiraffe.blogspot.com/2008/03/neb-at-nut-roast-invitation.html

Deborah Dowd said...

This looks great and the bright colors at least one have hope for brighter days and better weather!

Sophie said...

I love a good dal!

I do eat odd stuff for breakfast some days (porridge with carrot for instance). I haven't tried it but I can see where you're going with this - dal would be a pretty good thing to warm you up for the day.

Everybody has made rather a fuss about a bit of weather, but then again we have had to spend the day fixing our fence which blew over

The Passionate Palate said...

This is comfort food! My former mother-in-law taught me how to make (almost) this exact dahl, and I can attest to its yumminess.

Annemarie said...

Madhur is such a good stand-by when the weather calls for comforting foods. I love a good dal, and both that and your kale look fab.

Sophie said...

Beautiful Pictures! I love breakfast food, it's my favorite meal of the day and I even love eating things like pancakes as midnight snacks :)! This is a very nice blog! Thank you for the lovely comment on my gluten-free pie post, sadly, I have yet to learn how to make a gorgeous looking pie :(!

P.S. Just had kale for the first time last night, believe it or not, it was a bit tough and not as tasty as spinach, have any suggestions for how I can make it come out a bit more savory?

Thanks!


Sophie :)
Flour Arrangements

Sadhbh said...

i love eating mad stuff for brekkie, especially chicken curry....get so much abuse for it though...apparently im strange..

Spice Rack said...

I think I'll go with the green leafy ones, don't be sad. I should pick the green ones because I love vegetables. Especially when it is full of herba and spices from the spice rack.

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