Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Kitchen Sink, Indian Style

I think this dish was something like a cross between dhansak and baingan bharta. I really was just trying to use up everything in my fridge. A creamy mixture of split peas and roasted eggplant, with little bits of crunch from broccoli stems and fresh spinach, this dish is a balancing act: pungent and heavy flavors like mustard seed get balanced out by sour lime juice. I was surprised by how good (if unphotogenic) this was. But... what to call it?

Dal with Spinach and Roasted Eggplant

1 c yellow split peas
pinch salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp cumin seed
2 TB ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 fresh serrano chili (or to taste), minced
1 roasted eggplant, peeled and chopped
1 c broccoli stems, diced (potatoes would work too)
pinch salt
3 TB coconut
2 tsp garam masala
1-2 c baby spinach
lime juice to taste (1-2 limes)
salt, cayenne to taste

0. Roast/blacken the eggplant over the stove, then set aside to cool. Then, peel and coarsely chop.
1. Set the split peas a-simmerin' with the water, salt, and turmeric. They will probably need about 40 minutes to cook.
2. When split peas are getting soft, in a larger saucepan or skillet, heat the oil with mustard and cumin. When the seeds start to splutter, add the ginger and cook for a minute or two, then add the garlic and the chili. Saute a few more minutes. Now add in the chopped roasted eggplant, the broccoli stems, pinch of salt, coconut, and garam masala. Stir and cook for a few minutes.
3. Add split peas to the mixture, cover, and simmer 10 minutes, adding spinach at when you only have a minute or so left to go. Season with lime juice, salt, and cayenne pepper to taste, and serve hot. Serves about 4.

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