What a year its been. Apart from that, I don't think I have much to say.
Like many of us, I've spent a lot of the year inside - food shopping in bulk to avoid being in busy public places for too long. That's meant a lot of cooking at home, and while for me that's been an unexpected blessing, most of what I've cooked has been the usual curries, stir-fries and simple pasta dishes.
And despite the pandemic, work has been as busy as ever. Only now at the end of the year am I taking a bit of a break, and this is my chance to share a quick recipe. In the last few months I've gotten better at cooking Bangladeshi and South Asian vegetarian food - making different types of daals and experimenting with spiced shobji bhajis and Bangla-Chinese stir-fries. This is mainly because of the frozen veg I started buying when fresh produce ran out near me. The larger portions frozen veg comes in meant learning to cook bigger veggie dishes rather than just side dishes.
This slightly spiced vegetable daal is a result of that - nothing too glamorous and indeed quite similar to another daal recipe I shared a while back. I originally cooked it using frozen cauli, but I've reduced the cooking time assuming fresh cauli in the instructions below. I also like the veg in my daals to be quite mushy, so do reduce the cooking time further if you want more crunch. The recipe below makes enough for 6 portions as a side, or perhaps 4 as a main. It's great comfort food if you like daal, and in normal circumstances I would serve this with rice and another protein course.
- 140.00 g or mushur daal (red split lentils)
- 1.00 teaspoon of garlic paste
- 1.00 teaspoon of ginger paste
- 0.50 teaspoons of turmeric
- 0.50 teaspoons of powdered chilli
- 0.50 teaspoons of powdered coriander seed
- 0.50 teaspoons of powdered cumin seed
- 1.00 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds
- 2.00 tablespoons of cooking oil, any type
- Half a head of fresh cauliflower
- 60.00 g of frozen peas
- 2.00 cloves of garlic
- 2.00 fresh green chillies
- 2.00 tablespoons of mustard oil
- Salt, to taste
- Place the daal in a large bowl and fill with water. Wash it thoroughly, draining away the water and repeating the washing process until the water runs mostly clear
- Leave to soak for a few hours - this will help the daal cook quicker later
- Place a deep saucepan on the hob over medium heat, and add the cooking oil
- Once the oil has heated add the garlic and ginger pastes, along with the dry spices
- Mix thoroughly, and allow to cook for a couple of minutes
- Drain the daal and add it to the pan. Mix the spices and daal together, and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes
- While the daal and spices are cooking, boil a litre of water in an electric kettle. Pour the water into the pan, giving the daal a good stir. Partially cover the pan and leave to cook for 25-30 minutes, lowering the heat slightly
- After 30 minutes have passed, chop the cauliflower into smaller bite size pieces and add to the daal. Partially cover the pan again, and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes
- After the cauliflower and daal have cooked together for at least 10 minutes, put a small frying pan on medium-low heat and add the mustard oil
- As the oil heats up, chop and add the garlic cloves. Once they've begun sizzling add the fresh chillies and cumin seeds, continuing to fry for about a minute, before taking the frying pan off the heat
- Check on the daal, stirring lightly to check if the cauliflower is cooked and tender and the daal has broken down into a creamy base. At this point, top up with some more freshly boiled water depending on the consistency of daal desired
- Add the mustard oil, garlic, chilli and cumin seeds from the frying pan to the daal - followed by the peas
- Leave to cook partially covered for a final 10 minutes, before taking off the heat
- Serve hot with rice, as a main for a simple meal or as a side as part of multiple courses