Monday, February 21, 2011

Dahl V1.0

I'm naming this week's soup Dahl V1.0 because this is my first attempt to make a dahl. It was fun and easy and turned out well so I expect I'll keep playing around and making more variations on the theme.

I've had dahl in Indian restaurants and at the home of a friend and I really like it. I've always thought of dahl as a thick, spicy soup but as I do a little research for this blog post, I am learning that 'dal' or dahl refers to any legume that has been split and the outer skin removed. So, there are many varieties of dahls and the soups that can be made from them. Look for Dahl 2.0 and more in the future here.

I was cooking this weekend at the home of my sweetie Wahabah so I could hang out with her and dip into her spice stash at the same time. She was cooking a lamb curry and an apple pie at the same time - there were some excellent smells coming from her kitchen.

To begin the dahl, I first assembled the lovely array of spices I will use: cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger, coriander, black pepper, cloves, and fenugreek.

I chopped a couple of large onions and heated some olive oil in my pot. I think that authentic Indian cuisine would use butter or ghee, but I'm cooking for some Friends who don't eat dairy, so I'm using olive oil instead. I saute the spices and onions together in the oil. This is when the aroma filled the apartment. Wow! I wish you could smell it.

When the onions were translucent, I added some red lentils, water, and salt. First I had to admire the beautiful color of the lentils.

As they cooked, the lentils thickened the broth. I added more water several times. When they were mostly done, but still individuals, I rinsed some kale, tore it into bite-sized pieces, and added it to the soup. When the lentils had disintegrated into a thick mush, the kale was done too.

Wahabah & I enjoyed this soup too much. When I got home and looked in the pot, I realized there wasn't enough left to take to meeting with me in the morning.

I put it back on my own stove and added some yellow split peas (since I had used up all my red lentils) and water. When they were cooked, I added some frozen, chopped spinach. Dahl 1.1. By the time I took the soup to meeting on Sunday morning, it was green. The picture above was taken of Dahl 1.0 at Wahabah's. I think I liked it better then because the split peas overpowered the gentler flavor of the red lentils.

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