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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vegan Black Lentils (Dal Makhani) from "The Indian Slow Cooker" book

Dal Makhani
"Black Lentils" from  The Indian Slow Cooker: 50 Healthy, Easy, Authentic Recipes  book.

The Indian Slow Cooker: 50 Healthy, Easy, Authentic Recipes
The Indian Slow Cooker: 50 Healthy, Easy, Authentic Recipes
I finally made the first recipe in Anupy Singla's "The Indian Slow Cooker" book! The black lentils which can be turned into Dal Makhani with the addition of cream or yogurt. I rarely buy vegan Silk brand cream or vegan yogurts, as they are pricey and I would rather eat whole foods. But since I was trying to follow the recipe, I splurged yesterday and picked up some Silk half and half for two bucks at Straub's in the CWE when I was buying 6 bunches of cilantro!  Other options for milk, heavy cream or yogurts, Vegan Style.

Silk "Original" Creamer
I used this for my "Dal Makhani"
(Living it up!)
So Delicious Cultured Coconut Yogurt.  This rocks.

Coconut Milk in aseptic containers that can sit
on your shelf.  Love this because it has zero sugar.

Yes, you can keep the dried beans and all the basmati and spices in the world on hand but cilantro doesn't have a terribly long shelf life. So I was thrilled that Straub's carried it for 99 cents a bunch. And surprised that they had Silk brand creamer so had a moment of weakness and thought I would give it a shot. Well.....when I walked in the door of our house  I was totally blown away by this awesome aroma. I still can't get over come home to and it smelling like someone else has been cooking the whole day. That's pretty cool. Well this recipes calls for 2 bunches of cilantro and it was worth it. I had no fewer than 3 bowls of this stuff. And that was on top of our homemade Indian buffet of leftovers including Saucy Punjabi potatoes, Pigeon Peas with Garlic and Chilies, Amla Chickpeas and Goan Black Eyed Peas.

I used the "Urad Whole" or "Black Matpe Beans"
Make sure you get the right "Black Lentils" as there
are a couple black looking ones at Whole Foods in the bulk
but those are not "Urad Whole".

Serrano Peppers
Maybe a touch milder than the Thai Chilies.
Do not deseed if you like the heat.
That is what is so funny about vegan night at Gokul's too. These people seem to go endlessly to the buffet bar and they aren't fat! What also is funny about Gokul's is when vegans that are new to this place walk in, it always appears that they are having this conversation "is everything vegan?"  "is the Korma vegan?" Etc.....double Checking. And then it appears that the Indian people are walking in and the staff is explaining to them that it is all vegan and has no dairy and you can always see them deciding whether they want buffet or to order from the menu. It is always all vegetarian, but it's funny because they have such an allegiance to both communities and we all have our separate requests. But they make it work!  The vegan night rocks because everything is vegan but you can go there any day of the week and the buffet always has plenty of vegan goodies.  They even bring you vegan naan when they see you walk in!

Thai Chilies.
This is what Anupy Singla uses.
They are yummy AND they really aren't that spicy
with the long hours in the cooker.
What I notice also, is that the Indian people seem to love that "chaat" bar full of fried puris and papadums. It appears that they have a much more rounded meal consisting of appetizers, some main courses, and dessert while the Americans seem to pile their plates even with the knowledge that they can go up to the food bar 100 more times.

Whole Urad Dal, Kaali dal,
Whole Black Gram, Whole Matpe Beans
Lots of names!!
"The Mother's Lentils"
So rich in color and nutrients.
Anyway, this recipe totally "passes" for Indian food. It tastes like the real thing. I am not sure if it was the addition of so much fresh cilantro or my crazy splurge on the Silk creamer but it is AMAZING!!!!!!!! So far the only real problem I have encountered with this book is that I simply can't stop eating the dishes and then I get so so bloated that I swear I am doing Raw again, that is until I smell the food cooking. It's just hard to feel too guilty about eating lentils and brown rice. Trust me I have tried. I think the biggest reason I am am using this book every single day is just the total simplicity of it. It is super easy to have the ingredients on hand and requires such little effort and it's not like all my raw recipes where I have to round up super extra virgin coconut oil in a glass jars, etc.... I LOVE my raw recipes but there are the simple ones and there a the gourmet ones and I tend to favor the cheesecakes. I always wonder if it is really healthier if I am eating so much fruit sugar or so much fat. But here I am binging on beans but I am guessing that the fat and sugar content is negligible in the Indian food, well at least if you make it at home.  I will probably go back to a high raw diet after my "Bean Bender".    I am awaiting Ani's new book with the Asian theme!

Fresh Cilantro

Pure Mustard Oil 250ml
Mustard Oil.
Available at International Grocers or your
Indian Store.  For you country folk, you can get it from Amazon
or any of the online Indian Grocers.

Anupy Singla is the author of "The Indian Slow Cooker" and her awesome blog is here.  Follow the link to "Indian as Apple Pie" to read a little about Diwali and get the Black Lentils recipe from her book.  The one on this page is identical to the one in her book.  This recipe is listed elsewhere on her blog and the only difference in the other one is that it only uses 2 cups of lentils to 8 cups water. The "Diwali" post has the published version.  Link to read Anupy's piece about Diwali that was published in the Wall Street Journal.  It seems the recession spiked attendance!  Maybe next year I will light my home and hope that Ganesh & Lakshmi will help me out a little.....
This dish is 5 stars.  I think it is my husband's favorite so far.

Sounds True, Inc.

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