Our last couple of dine outs have been to African restaurants. Interestingly I saw that Ethiopian and Moroccan food has heavy use of lentils. It is served as one of the main course in both Queen Sheba and Marrakesh restaurants that we visited. It reminded me of some of the traditional Bengali lentil recipes. These are not the traditional daal soup or curry but more dry and filling.
In Winter when fresh spinach hit the markets my mom used them with yellow lentil to make a thick dry side dish which we used to have with white rice. Here’s the recipe.
- 1/2 cup yellow moong dal
- 1lb spinach coarsely chopped
- 1" grated ginger
- 1tsp. cumin seed
- 2,3 bay leaves
- 3,4 dry red chilies
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. ghee ( clarified butter )
Dry roast moong dal on medium heat till you get a nutty smell and the dal turns light brown. You need to stir it continuously.
Once you are done, wash dal thoroughly. Now cook dal with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder in a pressure cooker with one cup of water. If there is any excess water allow it to dry on high heat. Don't overcook the dal.
In a pan heat 2 tbsp. of oil and temper it with whole cumin seeds, bay leaves and dry red chilies. Wait till it sputters. Add grated ginger to it. Next to go in is chopped spinach. Season with salt and a tsp. of sugar.
Mix well and cook it covered on medium heat. Soon the leaves will start wilting and release enough water. Remove the lid and cook it on high heat allowing all the water to evaporate. Add boiled dal to it. Mix the dal well with spinach. Check seasoning and adjust accordingly. Let it cook together till all excess moisture dries up.
You need to stir frequently to avoid sticking to the bottom. Add a dollop of ghee and turn off the heat.
Enjoy with hot rice.