Friday, January 22, 2016

Black Beluga Lentil Dhal, served with "Cheeze"-topped Broccolini and Brown Rice (Almost No Added Fat)

I was thinking of using black beluga lentils for a main course today. They cook in a 1:4 ratio of lentils to water over 15-20 (12 for salads) minutes. My Dad is visiting us for a few weeks, and I thought he'd enjoy the dish.

  • Medium shallot cut into 1/4" cubes (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 t mustard seed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup black beluga lentils
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 cup kale leaves (no stems) roughly hand-torn into approximately 1" squares (4 leaves)
  • 1 cup frozen peas (if fresh, they can just be added in for the last minute of cooking)
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) lemon or lime juice
  • (optional) fresh ginger and jalapeno to taste
  1. In a large Saladmaster stock pan, I put in the shallot and sauteed with no added oil for a few minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. When the shallot was softened, I added the mustard seed, stirred for about 15 seconds, then added the rest of the ingredients except for the lemon juice; I skipped the ginger and jalapeno entirely, for my daughter's sake.
  3. I brought to a boil then covered (with the broccolini in a bowl, as below, for a side dish) and simmered on low heat for about 17 minutes.
  4. I added lemon juice, stirred, and served.
  5. I would have liked ginger and spicy heat; I just added some hot chili powder to the bowl for all the adults.
In addition to simmering the main course, I decided to steam a bunch of broccolini in the same pan. I couldn't find my steamer basket, so just put the broccolini in a bowl atop the other ingredients. When I served the main course, I also served the steamed broccolini. I topped the broccolini with a small amount of Heidi Ho brand Chia "Cheeze" that I had put in a bowl and left in the finished pot for a few minutes to nicely melt. I used maybe a teaspoon per plate - at 4g of fat per ounce this was probably 2g of fat, so I'll classify this meal as almost no added fat.

For some time, I've been enjoying rices like Madagascar Pink and Bhutanese Red, and will continue to do so. But I've recently had a desire for plain old brown rice. I made a batch (1 part rice to 2 parts water, along with a bouillon cube and a little salt; 50m simmer should do it or perhaps 20-30m under pressure, but I usually make brown rice in my Zojirushi rice cooker, as I did today. Boy, does the rice come out great!

Dinner was great! We all enjoyed the dhal. I had originally thought that I would make a less liquidy lentil main course, but it was just fine being a dhal. The rice was so good! I think that both my wife and I had seconds and thirds of both dishes.

I like kale, and it's so healthful! This batch was particularly tasty and I couldn't stop eating pieces of raw kale as I was cooking. My daughter also enjoyed nibbling on kale. We are in the midst of a few-day ice storm; my wife shopped yesterday and noticed a lot of good and tender produce. She surmised, correctly I think, that local farmers probably harvested a bit early in advance of the storm.

This vegan cheese is very good. Used in small quantities, it contributes just a little fat but a lot of nice flavor.

Ideas for the future

I have made vegan cheese sauce before and should do it again. I should also get this Heidi Ho brand of "cheeze" again. I'd like to experiment with cooking these lentils with less liquid and getting a plated side dish. It would also be nice to try a black beluga lentil salad.

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