in college, one of my primary food staples was lentils and rice. i ate it endlessly, mixed with salad greens in a delicious and healthy pile of food. even when i traveled, i would bring a bag of rice and a bag of lentils in my suitcase so that i could, if needed, feed myself freely and cheaply wherever i was.
last night, i realized it was getting late and i hadn't really planned dinner. sigh. dinner always goes much more smoothly when i plan it, as i have two male human beings to feed, and dinner is very important to them both. in fact, they are both always hungry, but hungriest at lunch and dinner. i came up with an on-the-spot meal that i'd never made before, and it was so delicious - i was (admittedly) very proud. although we devoured it too quickly for me to take pictures, i've supplemented this post with photos i gleaned from pinterest. you can go to the food section in my pinterest profile to see these photos and the other recipes they originally came from.
dinner was red lentil dal with garlic and ghee (served with warm baguette and butter); sweet brown rice with raisins and cinnamon; and baked sweet potatoes (technically, yams, i think, but either will work). quite simple, with lots of nutrition (and no meat).
this is the easiest part of the meal! before starting anything else, do these so that they can cook while you make the rest of the meal. preheat your oven to 400 degrees and wash your sweet potatoes or yams. i used jewel yams.
after they've been washed, prick each potato several times with a fork, and then rub the skin with olive oil. set the potatoes on a piece of tin foil, and place them in the oven to bake. they usually take around 45 minutes, depending on the size - you can test their done-ness with a fork...they should be very soft all the way through. they will also start to ooze a sticky nectar when they are done.
easy sweet brown rice pudding
technically, this is not a pudding. but you see, i was trying to make dinner a bit faster since it was late, and so i didn't want to spend another half-hour baking a pudding with eggs (though next time i am going to do it that way, as baked puddings are delicious). this was an improvised and easier way, and it turned out very well.
put two cups of sweet brown rice and four cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil; reduce to simmer, and simmer until rice is cooked (about 45 minutes). when rice is cooked, pour milk into it as you stir it in until the rice reaches a desired consistency (this is up to you - i left mine fairly thick). next, add a couple teaspoons of brown sugar (or honey or maple), a few dashes of cinnamon, and a splash of vanilla. scoop into bowls and serve garnished with raisins.
red lentil dal with garlic and ghee
put one cup of red lentils and two cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil (add a bay leaf if you have one); reduce to a simmer and simmer with lid on for several minutes (about 15-20). do not season with any salt until the lentils are just about done. this was my first time making these kinds of lentils, so i checked and stirred them often until they seemed to be the right consistency (soft).
once they are soft, add curry paste to taste, and season with equal parts of tamari and maple syrup/honey. taste as you go to ensure the flavor is how you like it. you can stop here if you like - the next step i did is optional.
in a cast-iron skillet, i simmered chopped garlic cloves in a couple tablespoons of homemade ghee (a gift from my mom). once it was nicely cooked, i poured the ghee and garlic into the dal and mixed it in (yum). if you haven't heard of ghee, or the wonders of ghee, please read about it here.
i served the dal in scoops on our plates with slices of oven-warmed baguette to dip into it. i buttered my bread (cuz that's how i do) and then ate the dal on top of that.
the boys devoured it and were happy and full - and as many of us know, this is the true sign of a successful meal. (also: though i didn't include greens in this meal, it would look beautiful with any green side dish - from kale salad to steamed chard or broccoli, and so on).
i'm making the dahl again for lunch today!
photos: one, two, three