Monday, July 7, 2014

Using Cabbage in a Dal

First, thanks to HowChow for mentioning this blog in a post. I've been reading HowChow for years, and it's helped keep me up on what's happening in the Howard County restaurant scene.

I got a little behind in the posting because of the holiday weekend. I did manage to use some produce, though! A few lunches were not really worthy of a writeup: wraps with lettuce, cucumber, mustard, and shredded cheddar. Easy and good!

Then there was Saturday night's dal. I tried to find a recipe using some of our remaining produce, along with items already in our pantry. Mark Bittman to the rescue! I located a recipe for "Mixed Whole-Bean Dal with Walnuts" in his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. The original recipe calls for tomato paste, but there's a variation listed afterward that in which the tomato place is replaced with...2 cups of chopped cabbage. Seems like an odd substitution, but OK.
Dal with Cabbage

That wasn't the only variation I made. We had whole walnuts, but I didn't feel like breaking out the food processor, so I left them out. Of the beans he listed, we just had some dried navy beans (bulk from Roots market in Clarksville), so it wasn't so much a "mixed" dal. Our last attempt at cooking dried beans, some black beans, was a bit disastrous and ended up with us just opening a can of them instead. But the navy beans looked closer to the size of lentils, which I've cooked in about a half hour. So I figured the navy beans would be done in an hour. Please, the recipe said that soaking them was optional.

All I can say is, it's a good thing I started dinner early. Trying to get risotto rice to absorb water was nothing compared to these beans! I tried starting gently liked the recipe said. After a half hour, I could bite into them, but they were still too firm. I figured it might take another half hour. After 45 more minutes passed, I had to give up on the more gentle method. In a part of the book on cooking dried beans (which I clearly should have read first!) he says you should never hard boil them like pasta. Well, that's what I had to do.

A half hour later, they were close! Perhaps we wouldn't have to order a pizza after all... About 15 minutes later, it was ready to serve. The beans weren't creamy like they should have been, but it was still delicious. And the cabbage had melted into almost nothing--just absorbed the flavor of the garam masala such that it was almost unrecognizable.

So it tasted very good, but next time, I'm going to soak the beans first, or start much earlier! On the plus side, the house was filled with the wonderfully sweet scent of garam masala.

1 comment:

  1. The leftovers made for an excellent lunch as well.