Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Red Split Lentil Dhal with Napa Cabbage and Japanese Sweet Potato (No Added Fat)

We just got back from almost a week in Washington, D.C., where I had a day with some fellow Food for Life instructors for updates to our training, then spent several days at a fabulous cardiovascular health conference. I so wish that information about whole food plant-based diets were more readily available to allow people to make good food choices to prevent and manage disease.

We had, as always, great food in Washington, including meals at Native Foods (I didn't like the small Washington, DC location compared to ones we've eaten at in Southern California and Chicago), Pizza Paradiso, Dukem Ethiopian restaurant (we'd regularly go to Meskerem, but it suddenly closed, alas), a wonderful but pricy $65 gourmet vegan tasting meal at Equinox, and wonderful deep dish pizza (vegan Daiya brand cheese included in my daughter's half, cheeseless on mine; as always, we remembered to call several hours early to ensure they'd have some vegan dough) from District of Pi. The conference and instructor's summit had excellent food, as always.

I bought some

  • 2 cups red split lentil
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4" cubes (mine yielded 2 1/4 cups; I used my favorite variety, the white-fleshed Japanese sweet potato)
  • 1 medium carrot (I don't usually peel carrots, but this one was a bit dirty even after washing, so I peeled it) cut into 3/8" slices (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) salt
  • 1t (or more, to taste; were I not cooking for my ginger-averse daughter, I'd use 2 or 3t) finely diced ginger to pieces smaller than 1/4"
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • Small onion cut into 3/8" cubes (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 cups Napa cabbage cut into 3/8" ribbons
  • 4t fresh squeezed lemon (or lime) juice
  • (optional) 1/2 kala namak (black salt)
  • (optional) Jalapeno to taste
  1. I put the lentils (which I should have first rinsed, but forgot), water, bouillon cube, sweet potato, carrot, salt, and ginger into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 15 minutes on high pressure (red split lentils generally cook under pressure for 13-18m - 25m cooked conventionally stovetop - and with a 1 part lentil to 2-2.5 part water).
  2. After a few minutes, I slowly let out remaining pressure and mixed in the remaining ingredients - the turmeric, onion, Napa cabbage, lemon juice, and kala namak - then served.
I also made some simple quinoa and served some so-tasty summer tomato slices. as well as watermelon-strawberry juice that I blended.


I had aimed for a thick dhal, and was pleased that the pressure cooker nicely achieved this. If anything, it was just slightly too thick and could have used maybe an extra 1/4 or maybe 1/2 cup of water. Everybody enjoyed the dhal. I liked how the Napa cabbage softened just a bit as I mixed it in, and added a welcome crunch to the dish.

Ideas for the future

Cooking tasty and nutritious split lentils and, even faster, split peas, is so easy in the pressure cooker. I should continue to come up with dishes like this one but experiment with other vegetables to see if they can nicely combine to create welcome new dishes. Small pieces of tangerine would have been interesting in this dish, and some potato instead or even in addition to the sweet potato could have been fun. I'd add maybe 1/4 or 1/2 cup more water to this recipe, as suggested above.

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