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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Yellow Mung Beans with Spinach and Panchphoran : Masala bhat

I will make them appreciate Indian food.  The glorious spices and wonderful flavors hanging well beyond the meal keep me coming back for more.  The one with a peanut allergy gets a pass since legumes cause his tongue to tingle.  Everyone else, eat this veggy complete protein.

When cooking Indian food one must prepare everything in advance.  Picture this, your own cooking show in front of a studio audience who hangs on your every word.  Your counter will be littered with little bowls filled with exotic spices and it looks very impressive.  Everything happens fast and you will not have time to measure out ingredients once you get started.  If you are not prepared, you will spend a great deal of time clean up burned spices.

Yellow Mung Beans with Spinach and Panchphaoran
Muger Dal
from Indian Home Cooking
Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness
serves 4

1T safflower oil
1 cup yellow mung beans picked over, washed and drained
1/2t turmeric
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 1/2t sea salt
2 cups firmly packed stemmed fresh spinach, finely chopped
1/2t cayenne pepper

~ heat oil over medium high heat
~ add mung beans and turmeric
~ add water, bay leaf and salt
~ bring to boil and skim well
~ reduce the heat and simmer partially covered until beans are tender 20 minutes
~ add spinach and cayenne pepper and cook partially covered 15 minutes

Tempering Oil
2T safflower oil
2t panchphoran (ha, you don't have this?) aka Bengali five-spice mix (ring a bell?) or like me you can create your own: 1t cumin seeds,  1/2t coriander seeds and 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 whole dried red chilies (dried on the vine in my garden)
1/2 fresh jalapeno (picked from my garden)
juice of one lemon or if you have any, I do, 1/2t amchur (dried mango powder)

~ heat small cast iron pan medium heat
~ add oil and warm
~ add "panchphorah" and chilies
~ stir until cumin seeds turn golden brown 1 to 2 minutes
~ remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice or amchur
~ pour tempering oil into pan with dal and stir
~ transfer to serving dish
~ serve hot

Masala bhat
Spicy Rice
from The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking
Adiraja dasa

2 cups basmati rice
3 1/2 cups water
1t sea salt
2T safflower oil
1t cumin seeds
2 jalapenos (from my garden)
1t ground cinnamon
1t grated fresh ginger
1/2t fresh grated nutmeg
3 cardamon pods bruised (I push on mine with the side of a knife)
2T freshly chopped coriander or like me you can use two frozen cilantro cubes from Trader Joe's
2T butter

~ wash rice
~ soak rice 15 minutes
~ let drain 15 minutes
~ put water and salt in pot over high heat
~ heat safflower oil in medium pan and fry cumin and chillies
~ when cumin seeds start to brown in a few seconds
~ add cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and nutmeg
~ stir once
~ add the rice and continue stirring
~ in a minute or two rice should start to lightly toast
~ pour the boiling water over the rice
~ cover and turn heat down very low and do not remove lid
~ cook 15-18 minutes
~ uncover and allow steam to escape
~ remove cardamom pod
~ mix in butter and coriander or cilantro
~ put in serving dish

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