Spring cleaning

This weekend, I packed away my winter clothes and pulled my spring-summer wardrobe out of storage (to be fair, living in Seattle means that the bulk of my wardrobe is essentially seasonless). I’m just sooooo tired of heavy wool. Clearly, I’m being a bit optimistic:

Oh, well. You know what they say: Hope springs eternal. (Sorry, bad pun.)

My spring cleaning is extending to food. You would think that with my massive cookbook library and copious collection of back issues of cooking magazines that I would have no need to clip recipes out of newspapers and print them from the interwebs. You would think, but you would be wrong.

So this week, my spring break resolution (well, one of them…the other is to do more running) is to go through my yellow folder where these orphan recipes go to malinger and actually cook some of them. I know…shocking!

First up to bat was a lovely lentil recipe from an old issue of Sunset Magazine. I appreciate lentils for being one of the few members of the legume family that don’t require pre-soaking before cooking, which is fantastic when you are not being very organized with the menu planning and/or simply have to put together a tasty nutritious meal on the fly. Plus, when you have several varieties of lentils in your pantry, they look really pretty in their glass jars. I’m just saying.

This recipe for Indian Dal didn’t really taste like the dals I have known and loved from my favorite Indian restaurants, but it was quite tasty. And it required minimal prep and cooking time, which is a bonus.

Indian Dal
Prep and cook time: About 35 minutes
Makes five one-cup servings

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil (I used coconut oil, but olive or canola would work)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
4 cups (1 quart) vegetable or chicken broth (recipe specifies fat-skimmed)
1.5 cups dried red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 cup chopped onion
About 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno chilies (I used canned, because that’s what I had on hand)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon ground dried tumeric

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 5- 6-quart saucepan. Add cumin and cardamom and stir frequently until spices are fragrant, about 1-1.5 minutes. 
  2. Add rest of ingredients (except salt). Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring often, until lentils fall apart (about 15 minutes).
  3. Ladle dal into bowls (over steamed rice, if desired), sprinkle with more cilantro and add salt to taste.
Per serving: 303 calories; 20 grams protein, 3.9 grams fat, 49 grams carbohydrates (8.5 grams fiber); 67 mg sodium.