legumes are a girl’s best friend

January 7, 2010

[image by andrew scrivani for the new york times]

This girl, at least. Lentils and beans have become a staple in my cooking this autumn and winter. Dal (made with lentils and other legumes) is a big part of that. Why? Partly for the reason Mark Bittman points out in The Minimalist this week: it’s quick and simple to make and yet rich in flavour and complexity. Winner.

I was so pleased to see his recent colomn, featuring five new dal recipes (how amazing does Mung Bean Dal with Apples and Coconut Tarka sound?) because I’ve really been on the look out for some variations on the staples in his How to Cook Everything book.

One such staple is the Lentil Soup with Sausage pictured below. I made a gigantic batch a few weeks back and froze about ten servings – happy days at lunch!

One thing that’s important to remember when making dal, as Bittman points out, is that adding too much to a dal can be overkill. While boosting its flavour and density with something like apples and coconut tarka, or even meat can take the dal to new and dizzying heights of deliciousness, this is not a cassoulet or a stew, so add with caution and thought.How about trying one of these?
Everyday Yellow Dal from smitten kitchen.

This is an awesome way to start out if you’ve never made dal or feel overwhelmed by some of the ingredients listed in dal recipes – simple and delicious. The sides recommended also sound rocking.

Dal Makhani, Oberoi Style from A Life (Time) of Cooking.

This recipe uses black lentils, red kidney beans and garbanzos and sounds amazing!

Parippu Usili/ Usli from Edible Garden.

This recipe uses french beans to add some real substance to the dal.

What are your thoughts on dal? Ever tried making it? Intrigued? Put off by some of the ingredients? I’d love to know!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn January 7, 2010 at 10:08 pm

That looks so good!


Anonymous January 8, 2010 at 7:20 am

Hi. Glad you liked my picture…how about adding my food blog makingsundaysauce.com to your blogroll.


Andrew Scrivani


insideiamdancing January 8, 2010 at 7:50 am

All looks delish! I love dahl… I used to make a very unauthentic basic one a lot. Just reminded me that it's been way too long since I made it!


brandi January 8, 2010 at 9:27 am

i love dal, too. there are so many variations!


Food Makes Fun Fuel January 8, 2010 at 11:56 am

lentils are this boy's best friend, too :-)
Haven't experimented much with dal, but I love the sound of your sausage soup!


Holly January 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

that dal is calling my name from smitten kitchen like no other. good thing i made a resolution to cook something new every week. gots next week's recipe :)

love you girl!


Janetha January 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm

MMMMM DELISH!!! will you be my best friend and come make beautiful, delicious food for me :) glad you had a fun trip to the great north. sure wish i was allowed there!



peaceinchaos January 8, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Mmmm your making me crave my mum's spinich dal..Fab pics! which is your fav dal?


Diana @ frontyardfoodie January 9, 2010 at 11:30 am

Chick peas are my favorite legume for sure but lentils are amazing too!

That soup looks divine and WARM!


Jenny January 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

screw diamonds, legumes are where it's at! :)

I have a really really crazy obsession with chick peas. Ah, they're the best!


Karena January 11, 2010 at 8:00 am

That yellow dal looks AWESOME…and simple enough for me to try out on a weeknight! YUUM. I'm always intrigued by the dried lentils and peas I see at the store, but chicken out b/c I never know what to do with them!


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