everyday yellow dal

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Tangy Shredded Cabbage Salad
Adapted from Ruta Kahate via SFGate.com, 6/8/07

Revisiting this in March 2013 minus the chile (3 year-old accommodation) we were reminded of how much we adore those toasted mustard seeds. When they pop, they smell and taste like popcorn. It’s incredible, and it was so lovely to have a salad component to an Indian meal.

Serves 4

2 cups tightly packed, shredded green cabbage (use the large holes of a grater)
1 small serrano chile, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more as needed
1/4 to 1/2 to 1 teaspoon table salt (adjusted from 1 tsp. as a few commenters found it too salty)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

Instructions: In a medium bowl, toss together the cabbage, chile, lemon juice, salt and sugar. Taste and adjust the seasoning. You are looking for a well-balanced, sweet and sour taste.

Heat the oil in a small skillet or butter warmer over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the mustard seeds, covering the pan with a lid or splatter screen. When seeds top popping, immediately pour the oil over the cabbage salad and toss well. Let the salad sit for at least 15 minutes before serving, to allow the flavors to blossom.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Everyday Yellow Dal
Adapted from Ruta Kahate via SFGate.com, 6/8/07

Serves 4

1 cup yellow split peas, soaked in cold water for 1 hour
1 large tomato (about 8 ounces), cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium red onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, finely ground
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (I used 1/4, thought it was plenty, although I may be a wuss.)
1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves (I abhor cilantro, and always replace it with flat-leaf parsley.)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt

Instructions: Drain the dal (split peas) and place in a large saucepan. Add the tomato and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until peas are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Pick out any tomato skins and whisk dal to emulsify it. Keep warm over very low heat.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the cumin seeds, covering the pan with a lid or splatter screen. After the seeds have stopped sputtering, add the onion and saute over medium heat. About 3 minutes later, add the garlic and saute until most of the onion has turned dark brown, about 5 minutes altogether. Add the coriander, turmeric and cayenne, stir and pour mixture over the dal. Add the cilantro, butter and salt to the dal and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Black-Eyed Peas in a Spicy Goan Curry
Adapted from Ruta Kahate via SFGate.com, 6/8/07

Serves 4 to 6

1 cup dried black-eyed peas or two 15-ounce cans, drained
2 tablespoons, canola oil
1 small yellow onion, minced (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, finely ground
1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic (about 1 large clove)
1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger (about a 1-inch piece)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (I always start with the half the suggested cayenne, and then decide if it needs more. Mine didn’t.)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, finely ground
1/4 cup minced tomato (1 small tomato)
2 cups (or 1 cup if using canned peas) hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste if using canned peas
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice

If using dried black-eyed peas, rinse and soak them in enough water to cover for 6 to 8 hours. Drain.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat and saute the onion until it turns dark brown, about 8 minutes. Add the coriander, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne and cumin, and stir for 2 minutes. Add the tomato and stir over low heat until it disintegrates.

Add the peas and mix well. Pour in the hot water, if using, add the salt and sugar, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer until the peas are cooked through, about 20 minutes. If using canned peas, simmer for only 10 minutes (it is essential to simmer the canned peas, too, so that all the flavors blend better). Stir in the coconut milk and simmer uncovered for another 8 to 10 minutes, again allowing the flavors to come together.

Add the cilantro and lemon juice, simmer for 1 minute more, and remove from heat. Serve hot.


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