Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ginger-Sesame "Dal"

This dish happened because I was trying to make lentils that would go with the Lemon-Honey-Ginger Kale.  It was like a puzzle I posed to myself that I was probably not going to solve.  It actually turned out quite good, but a little odd.  I tried to think of what ingredients in your average dal could be changed into ingredients more commonly found in Japanese-ish/macro food.  So I used tamari instead of salt, and instead of finishing the lentils with citrus, I gave them a tiny splash of seasoned rice vinegar.  I kept ginger, of course, and if I'd had cilantro I would have used that, too.  To bring out the warmth of the carrots and the split peas, I also used small amounts of cinnamon, bay leaf, cayenne, and toasted sesame oil.  A bit unusual, but then, that was the point.  I'm glad I used split peas instead of lentils; they have a more appealing (and in this case, forgiving), creamier texture.  If you used a bit more water than I did, the dish would be more like a soup, which I think might be preferable. 

I ate this dish with rice noodles and the aforementioned kale.  I'm guessing this combination transgresses like four culinary traditions, but it was a satisfying mixture of textures and tastes.

Ginger Sesame "Dal"

3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1-in piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 c yellow split peas, rinsed
1-2 carrots, large dice
seasoned rice vinegar
toasted sesame oil


In a medium saucepan, heat canola over medium-high heat.  Saute garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, and bay leaf for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add split peas and carrots, cook for a moment, then deglaze with a splash of tamari.  Add enough water to cook the split peas (1 1/2 c? you can always add more as needed), and a bit of turmeric.  Stir, then reduce heat to low and simmer until split peas are very soft (30 min?).  Add water and tamari as desired--this can be a soup or a drier dish.  Just before serving, finish with a splash of seasoned rice vinegar, a tiny drizzle of toasted sesame oil, and perhaps some fresh cilantro.  Serves about 3.

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