Spinach Dhal

January 26, 2011

One of my new year’s resolutions was to cook more ethnic foods. Well, not only to cook them, but to learn more about them and the authentic ways to prepare Indian and Thai ingredients.

Let’s just say I’ve gotten off to a very slow start.

I’m still motivated to reach my goal though and last week I finally broke into a bag of moong dhal I’ve had in the pantry for a long while now. Moong dhal is a variety of mung bean, kind of like a yellow split pea.

I was flipping through the ThinkFood Cookbook I talked about last year and felt inspired when I found the Spinach Dhal recipe from Tastes Like Home.

After being soaked overnight moong dhal cooks up to be thick with a porridge-like consistency. This particular recipe has a spicy kick that is full of flavor with the whole spices that are added. I ate it with rice, but it could have easily been thinned slightly to create a delicious soup.

My husband was the real test though. He has a major aversion to peas. He dislikes them so much that it seems he can’t even be at the same dinner table with them. I’ll never forget the time we ordered a sandwich in Brazil and we bit into it to find it was filled with peas! Needless to say he went home that night and looked up the word for peas right away.

It’s ervilha in case you are wondering. This word guided our menu selection when dining out for the next 2.5 years.

So with the dhal’s similarity to split peas (more so than lentils, in my opinion) I thought he’d avoid it like the plague. Turns out he enjoyed it as much as I did.

This is the type of simple foods I want to focus on throughout our new year. They are so simple, yet the spices make them so complex in flavor.

This recipe will be emailed soon as part of the ThinkFood Cookbook listserv. If you are signed up, you will receive a recipe a week via email from the book. The ThinkFood Cookbook is also available for purchase.

Overlooking the fact that a Fake Food Free recipe is in the book, I have to say that it is a fabulous cookbook with all kinds of delicious recipes. I have made two recipes thus far and they have received rave reviews!

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  • MelindaRD January 26, 2011 at 10:20 am

    This dish is right up my alley. I love ethnic foods, and I love Indian the most. This looks awesome.

  • kat January 26, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I love peas so yeah this sound good to me

  • emily (a nutritionist eats) January 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Mmmmm dal…Love the spinach addition. Unfortunately I’m the only fan in my house, but I still make it from time to time!

  • Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) January 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Dhal is something I’ve never cooked but know I should because it’s so easy, cheap, and delicious. I almost thought you had made polenta by the colour though! Good to hear the hubby likes it as well.

  • That's Ron January 26, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    this sounds awesome! am addicted to spinach too!

  • Lori January 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Melinda – Thanks. I could eat Indian foods every day. It would take a long time for me to tire of them.

    kat – Oh, you’d love it then!

    emily – While my husband liked it, I’m much more likely to finish dishes like these up. So most of the time I’m making them for myself too. 🙂

    Marianne – It really does have it all. Easy and inexpensive are such great perks.

    Ron – Thanks! The spinach does add something a little different.

  • Joy January 27, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Dal ~ Yummmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • Chow and Chatter January 27, 2011 at 7:09 am

    great dal no need to soak them though can use pressure cooker 🙂

    hugs my hubby is Indian and the master of dal

  • Lori January 27, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Chow and Chatter – Unfortunately I have a major fear of pressure cookers! That was always the advice I got for beans in Brazil, but I stick with the soak and cook method. Thanks for bringing it up though for those who use them! I bet your husband makes some amazing dal!

  • 5 Star Foodie January 27, 2011 at 10:59 am

    This spinach dhal with a spicy kick sounds delicious for sure!

  • Michelle @ Find Your Balance January 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Ok, if you want to make really authentic Indian you gotta get this cookbook my husband uses. I was skeptical at first but OMG it’s amazing every time: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi

  • Sagan January 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I didn’t know that anyone could dislike peas!

    I’ve never tried cooking Indian, myself. The ingredients always seem daunting. But it’s my favourite cuisine… in fact, I plan on having roti tonight 🙂 I’ve yet to try spinach dhal – looks amazing though!

  • Peggy January 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    This sounds like my kind of dish! I love experimenting with different types of ethnic cuisines! Definitely feels great when they actually taste authentic!

  • TasteHongKong January 27, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I have always looking for simple yet exciting foods.

  • Joanne January 28, 2011 at 5:25 am

    I think I need to borrow your resolution for a while because I adore Indian food but NEVER make it! And it’s such a crying shame.

    This dhal sounds delicious! Especially to this pea lover.

  • Anna January 28, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Oh Lory that was funny, so ervilha is his kryptonite? My hubby’s kryptonite is tomatoes. Your dal looks delicious. I love indian food, it’s so aromatic and spicy. Yummmm.

  • OysterCulture February 4, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Love dhal, and this just sounds amazing. I just got a big batch of stinging nettles from the CSA, I think they might be tasty in this recipe.