Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bengal Lentils with Kale and Cauliflower

I received a call recently from a vegetarian manager at the local Mellow Mushroom, a pizza chain. I've found some Mellow Mushrooms to be reasonable, and others to offer only passable vegan pizzas. This manager wanted to get together to discuss how to make her restaurant more vegan friendly, and we were going to meet some friends there and eat. When I called to confirm, the manager said they were too busy to spend time together, so I found myself having to quickly put dinner together.

I took advantage of some leftovers that I was able to remake into a good fresh looking meal. My wife had recently made some Bengal lentils; I'm not familiar with Bengal lentils, but they are yellow. I think that she had soaked them then cooked them with some cabbage, mustard seeds, and turmeric.

We had some dark kale; I composted the stems and roughly tore the leaves into approximately one-inch squares. I also chopped half a Vidalia onion into maybe 1/4" cubes, and cut a quarter cabbage (from which the tough core I had removed) into thin strips. I started the onion sauteeing in tangerine olive oil over medium-high heat and a minute or two later as the onion was softening, added the cabbage.

I let the sauteeing go on about 4-5 minutes, letting the onion get slightly brown and the cabbage get cooked, then added 1/2 teaspoon or so of cumin seeds, and a little salt and turmeric, as well as the kale. I cooked for maybe two minutes, letting the kale cook down a bit and ensuring that the spices didn't burn, then added my wife's leftover lentil dish and let it warm up for a minute or two, then served.

I also served some French batard with tangerine olive oil drizzled on the cut insides, as well as heated leftover Basmati rice and tomato served with fresh basil (I planted basil a week or two ago). It was a good dinner!

Yesterday after class, my cousin flew in for a visit. I picked him up and we all had my Mom's home cooked Indian food (radish-stuffed paratha breads, rice, dhal, okra, and cabbage, as I recall). Tomorrow, more of my family is joining the reunion contingent and we're having one of my favorite dishes, dosa (a South Indian stuffed crepe), at my parents' home!

Incidentally, my Dad, who has been wanting to be vegan for some time, apparently is now just about there, if he can get my Mom (both are lifelong vegetarians) to stop serving him items with ghee, paneer, etc. Way to go, Dad!


At Sat Jun 28, 07:19:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds promising working w/ MM. It'd be awesome if they had more vegan options!

At Sat Jun 28, 10:49:00 AM EDT, Blogger Dilip said...

Thanks for your comment, Chris. How have you been? We've eaten at the Mellow Mushroom in Charlottesville a few years ago. Best wishes! --Dilip

At Wed Jul 02, 11:58:00 AM EDT, Blogger Erin said...

That looks like a nice last minute-ish meal. And very cool that the manager is interested in being vegan friendly. I've found Mellow Mushrooms to be really hit or miss, mostly depending on the staff quality. Also how great for your dad!


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