Dahl (Indian Lentils) with Spinach

I made this the other night, and it was crazy-yummy. We’ll be having this on a regular basis. It’s creamy with just enough heat to keep it interesting.

1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp mustard
2 cups broth
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 lb spinach, roughly chopped
3/4 tsp garam masala
1 cup coconut milk

1. Rinse lentils and soak for 20 minutes, and then drain.

2. In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil and stir in salt, lentils, turmeric, cayenne, and ginger. Cover and return to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add more water if the pot starts to get too dry.

3. While the lentils are cooking, spray a skillet with nonstick spray and add the onions, curry, cumin and mustard, stirring often. Cook until onions are transparent. Add the spinach to the pan and stir until the spinach wilts.

4. Add onion and spinach to the lentils. Remove from heat. Stir in garam masala and coconut milk and stir until heated through.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving, according to Living Cookbook): 129 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.8g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 216.9mg sodium, 305.6mg potassium, 16.3g carbohydrates, 3.3g fiber, <1g sugar, 7.1g protein.

I served it over basmati rice, and served four of us, with three of us having seconds (and almost popping), and then two two-serving freezer containers.  So I calculated the number of servings at 12 – there would be a lot fewer servings if you serve it without rice, of course. Naan would be fantastic with this!

Naan (Indian Flat Bread) Recipe

With our Indian dinner the other night, I made naan to go with the chicken tandoori and the curried cauliflower. It’s my favorite part of dinners at Indian restaurants, and I didn’t know until I started making it and told a few friends that apparently, it’s difficult to find a good naan recipe. I took a little from here, a little from there to make it. I guess a combination of knowing my ingredients, remembering vividly what naan at the restaurant tastes like, and a good amount of luck was at play, because my naan was fantastic. And not so difficult!

2½ tablespoons instant yeast*
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4½ cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted

In your mixer’s bowl, mix everything but the butter and then knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes (or knead by hand for 8 minutes). Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume (about 45 minutes to an hour).

Punch down the dough and form into golf-ball sized balls. Place on a cookie sheet and cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled (about half an hour).

Preheat a large skillet to medium heat. Lightly oil the skillet (I used nonstick spray).

Just before cooking each ball, flatten it out to a very thin disk. You can use a rolling pin or your hands, but the thinner it is, the bubblier it will be. Put the dough disks in the skillet (I could get three at a time). As the bottom browns (just 2 minutes or so), brush the tops with the melted butter. Turn and brown on the other side. You only want the raised parts brown – let the rest stay white.

Wrap the naan in aluminum foil to stay warm until dinner.

* If you are using active dry yeast or rapid rise yeast, mix the warm water, sugar and yeast together first and let it sit about 10 minutes, until it’s foamy and puffy. Also, that’s about a packet.

I would have loved to try this and the chicken on the grill – but I don’t have one! I hope to remedy that this summer.

For dessert, I heated up some butter in a frying pan, briefly warmed the naan in the butter, and sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar. YUM!

Ham and Lentils Slow-Cooker Stew Recipe

I love this stew – and I love that I can cook it in my crockpot and not heat up the house!

1 lb dried lentils
2 cups fat-free chicken broth
5 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup cooked ham, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/4 tsp pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaf
1 tsp salt

Put everything except the salt into a slow cooker. Cook for 3-4 hours on high. Salt before serving.

Servings: 8

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 258 calories, 16 calories from fat, 1.8g total fat, 9.6mg cholesterol, 686.1mg sodium, 790.1mg potassium, 40.9g carbohydrates, 19g fiber, 4.2g sugar, 19.9g protein.

It also is very low-calorie and frugal. It’s a win-win-win meal!