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Monday, December 6, 2010

Vegan Chana Dal from the Indian Slow Cooker Book

"Chana dal" from The Indian Slow Cooker  by Anupy Singla

 Today I made the "Chana Dal" from Anupy Singla's  The Indian Slow Cooker 
(which is now back in stock on Amazon).  The recipes in her book list an Americanized name and then the normal Indian name beneath.  The recipe I decide to make each day is nearly 100 percent dependent upon the cooking time.  This particular one took 6 hours on high and yielded 10 cups of food.

Dried Chana Dal

          "Chana Dal" This is what the package looks like.
I have the first edition of the book which is nearly perfect but does contain a couple of mistakes.  This happens to be one of them :)  It says to add 33 cups of dried chana dal to the slow cooker but it was pretty obvious that it was supposed to be three.  I think anyone that has ever been in a kitchen could figure that out pretty easily.  Yet, I am reminded of a Belgian roommate that I had.  We were living in a Spanish speaking country and she had gone to buy some asparagus that day.  She didn't cook much and pasta was even a little challenging for her.  She had even melted the entire teapot.  It would get left on for hours.  Well,  she bought this asparagus from the Bolivian woman sitting outside selling veggies.  The woman explained that you need to cut the ends off before you cook it since they were a bit fibrous.  Now, my roommate actually spoke excellent Spanish, so I am thinking it was the cooking part in which she was a little less fluent.  Anyhow, she knocked on my door and said she had made some fresh asparagus and would I like some.  I jumped at the chance as I was living on kilos of apples and oranges there.  I looked in the colander and there were the ends of the asparagus.  She had cut the rough ends off and cooked them!!  So the beautiful tips had been disposed of in the trash.  She kind of thrived on salami and cheese (she's Belgian after all) so there was no picking through the trash.  It was so funny.  She once cooked tofu by taking the whole block and boiling it in water.   My point?  Well, this dear friend of mine just may have tried to put 33 cups of chana in.  But I am confident anyone else with the first edition of this book will look at the page to the left which uses toor dal, and only 3 cups, and will determine that this recipe meant to say 3 cups also.  The "American" description of this dish is "Simple Split Chickpea Curry" and it is on page 63 of this awesome book.  And simple it was.

Just chop ingredients up and dump in pot.

You dump dried chana in with ingredients.  Add water.  And when you get home from work you think that maybe there was an Indian woman cooking in your house all afternoon.

I think it might become a staple in our home.  It had a little spice in it, but nothing overwhelming.  The second night we added spinach.  This dish is sort of "soupy" and you can take a cup out and blend it in the Vita-Mix to create a broth.   And don't be confused by the "Split Chickpea" description.  They are split chickpeas, but black chickpeas.  Split and skinned black chickpeas which are very common in Indian cooking.  She refers to these as "lentils" also, so you just have to adjust your terminology if you haven't shopped for Indian legumes prior.  Black Chickpeas are also called Kala Chana.  The white chickpeas which we use to make hummus here and to make the Indian Chana Masala are called "Kabuli Chana".  Anupy has a whole section in her book (starting on page 39) describing the different legumes and she also has many photos.   Her blog is here.  She is really funny!  "Indian as Apple Pie" is the name of it which is very fitting.  She quit her reporter job at WGN in Chicago to cook Indian Food. She seems like a super progressive gal who has this beautiful blend of two cultures.  What are your favorite Vegan Indian dishes??

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