Meatless Monday Indian Feast

by Mary Pomerantz

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Don’t you love the smell of sizzling spices? I used to be intimidated by spicing food the Indian way but after successfully making a number of tasty meals, I’ll try anything now.

This meal was inspired by a bag of organic lentils that I purchased at Costco. It was a mixture of three different lentils -brown, red and black.

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All of the lentils were very small lentils but the black ones were about the size of a peppercorn.

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I decided to try the recipe on the back of the bag because it had mangoes in it. My first inclination was to leave them out but I’m glad that I didn’t. They really added a delicious taste to the dish. The company who makes the lentils is Earthly Choice.

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I also made an aloo gobi (potatoes with cauliflower) that I flavored with panch phoran. This is a spice mix that literally means five spices. It is used to flavor dishes in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. It’s a great whole spice mix made with fenugreek seed, nigella seed, cumin seed, black mustard seed and fennel seed in equal parts. Each bite can taste different because of the different flavors. You can buy the mix at Indian grocery stores and Amazon.

I completed the meal with some steamed basmati rice that I cooked in a rice cooker with 2 teaspoons of cumin seed and 6 cloves. This touch added a nice flavor to the rice without overpowering it.

Lentil Dal with Mangoes Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic lentils trio (if you can’t find any, I suggest using half red and half brown lentils)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or water – I used the broth that I make myself)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more if this is not spicy enough for you)
  • 2 cups chopped frozen mangoes (or 2 fresh peeled and chopped mangoes) (I used Costco’s organic frozen)
  • 8 ounces kale mix, chopped very fine in the food processor
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I didn’t have any so I skipped this ingredient, although I wish I had used it!)

Preparation

Rinse lentils thoroughly. Put them in a pan with the water and the tumeric and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

In the meantime, heat a skilled and add the coconut oil. When it is melted, add the cumin seed and fry it for about 30 seconds. Add the onions and cook until they start to turn brown, about 4 -6 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients except for the mangoes, the kale and the cilantro. Cook stirring for one minute more.

Add the onion mixture, the kale and the mangoes to the lentil mixture and cook until the lentils are very soft and starting to fall apart. Total cooking time should be about 20-30 minutes.

Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Aloo Gobi Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon panch phoran
  • 4 medium organic potatoes, scrubbed and chopped (skins left on)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small flowerettes
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used fresh but I have used canned and drained in a pinch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional)

Preparation

Heat a skillet and add the coconut oil. When melted, add the panch phoran. Sizzle for about 30 seconds. Add the chopped onion and fry for about 5 minutes until the onion starts to brown.

Add the chopped potatoes and 1/4 cup of broth and cook for about 5 minutes with the lid on to steam.

Add the cauliflower, the chopped tomatoes, and the salt. If the mix seems dry, add more broth. Cook on medium heat until the cauliflower is tender. Check often and mix gently for even cooking. If it seems dry, add more broth. You want a nice saucy appearance but don’t want the dish drowning in liquid. As it cooks down, it making it’s own sauce.

When the cauliflower is cooked, it is ready to eat. Serve it with a garnish of chopped cilantro if desired.

 

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