Monday, December 15, 2008

Why are Rice and Beans considered "depression food"?

We eat it (and love it) all the time--not just during hard times.

Well, we eat beans a lot. I serve beans with a variety of grains like couscous, quinoa, cornbread/corn torillas or just whole wheat bread or buns. And we eat practically every bean variety (except I have not found a love for fava or lima beans).

One of my absolute favorite bean dishes is Lentil Dahl. I found the recipe initially in Cathe Olson's book called The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook: Whole Foods to Nourish Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women-and Their Families. It is an excellent cookbook, by the way, and the very one which introduced me to millet as a breakfast porridge, applesauce cake, and yogurt-making. Anyway, Lentil Dahl is a very simple dish that everyone in my family (including Z2) can't get enough of. So I'm sharing it with you today with a few simple variations (if you'd like to see the original recipe, buy or borrow the book or go here). I always use olive oil and I upthe spices and add a good amount of red pepper flakes to it. Unless tomatoes are in season, I use canned tomatoes and for a very special twist on the flavor, I use Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes.

Lentil Dahl

2 cup lentils (I use brown lentils)
1 strip kombu (optional--adds essential nutrients and reduces cooking time)
6 cups water
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1-1/2 tsp sea salt
frozen green peas
frozen corn

Prepare the lentils
In a stock pot, place lentils and kombu, add water and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer about 45 minutes until lentils are soft. (I sometimes cook lots of lentils ahead of time and freeze them. I defrost them and they're ready to use in the recipe.)
Make the dahl
In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and saute just till they start to soften. Add the spices and cook until they are fragrant. Add the diced tomatoes, juice and all and cook until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Add the frozen green peas and frozen corn and cook until they are warmed through/defrosted. Then add the lentils. Stir everything to incorporate.

Take half of this mixture and pulse in the food processor leaving some texture (i.e. don't completely puree it). Add that half back to the portion that was left in the pan and stir well. Add salt if necessary.

Serve with millet, quinoa, brown rice, couscous or flatbread. Yum!

1 comment:

mamak said...

I have her book and love it. The pumpkin scones are delicious.

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