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Archive for May 23rd, 2011

One of my favorite Indian dishes is daal.  There are so many variants of daal that this “dish” could fill a cookbook.  I made this version after picking up a jar of tamarind paste and daydreaming about what to do with it.  The tartness of the tamarind is a wonderful surprise that is mellowed and smoothed by the canela.  Though black beans are traditionally used in latin dishes, they worked really well with these Asian flavors.

Tamarind Daal

Ingredients:

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced

2 cups dried black beans

1-1/2 cup yellow split peas

1-15 oz can sweet potato purée

1-15 oz can coconut milk

1-2 T tamarind paste [I used Neera’s]

1 large cinnamon stick [I used a stick of Mexican cinnamon called canela]

2 star anise pods

~ 2 quarts vegetable stock [to cook the black beans]

Coconut oil for sautéing the onions and garlic

Optional garnishes:  fresh cilantro, non-dairy yogurt [So Delicious plain yogurt is our choice], cinnamon nibs, shredded coconut.

Directions:

Soak beans overnight.  Drain and rinse.  Place in a large pot and cover with vegetable stock by a couple inches.  Add the star anise and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  Add the split peas and continue cooking until the beans and peas are tender.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Sauté the onions, ginger and garlic in a spoonful of coconut oil until softened.  Using a whisk, mix the sweet potato purée, coconut milk and tamarind together until the mixture is homogenous.  Add into the pan with the onions.  Cook covered on a low simmer for ten minutes.  [Taste for seasoning and if you want to add more tamarind to make the sauce tarter, now is the time to add it in.]

Once tender, drain the beans and remove the star anise and cinnamon.

Transfer the beans to an oven-safe dish and stir in the sauce mixture.  [If you need to extend the sauce, add in some vegetable stock or water.]

Bake at 350°F until bubbly.

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