If you're about to head out on the town on a Saturday night, you need the proper fuel. Something that will keep your energy up, so you can party all night long and rock 'n roll with the rest of them. My friend Suzanne came over for dinner last night, where I made two curries and Phil made his onion bhajis with a new dipping sauce. We also had some chappatis and naan. Perfect fuel! But we also had a couple of glasses of red wine. ENERGY FAIL. We were like a couple of old grandmas at the rock show last night - it was really unfortunate! But we still managed to muster up enough energy to have a great time while it lasted :)
Still, dinner was pretty good, I have to say. The veggie curry I made wasn't so much a curry as a soup, so I served the veggies with the liquid strained away - it was even less like a curry by the time it reached the plate. But it had curry powder in it, so I'm still calling it a curry. Say curry more.
Other elements to the meal: a third dal from Mark Bittman, and I'd rank this one second out of all three. I still have two more to try, but I don't see either of them beating the clear winner.
Also, Phil made up some lovely onion bhajis and put together his own dipping sauce, which was tangy and delicious. I don't have a recipe for you, but it did involve goat yogurt (obviously you could substitute here with plain or soy yogurt), lemon juice, mint leaves, mango chutney (yep, just the good stuff from a jar), and turmeric. He's a culinary genius!
But onto the main course....
Puy Lentil Dal with Curried Root Vegetables
Find the dal recipe here at the NY Times website
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- veg stock
- salt and pepper
- madras curry powder
- red chili flakes (optional)
- fresh cilantro leaves to serve
- In a large pot, fry up the onion and garlic in a little olive oil.
- Add 2-3 tbsp of the curry powder and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped up veg and cook for 6-7 minutes, until slightly browned and softened.
- Add the veg stock until everything is just covered. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the veg is softened and cooked through. Feel free to add more curry powder and some chili flakes to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Strain and serve with lentils or rice and fresh coriander.
Lesson learned: This curried vegetable recipe would also work as a standalone dish if you added lentils to the pot and cooked in step 3. The sweet potato makes this wonderfully warming and decadent. But it worked great alongside the french lentils in the dal, since that was such a simple dish.