Monday, March 16, 2009

Craig's Dal, care of Nicole, featuring Hilary

I promised Hilary that I would make her red beans and rice last night. I even soaked the beans in advance and made sure I had all the ingredients I needed.

But. I forgot to look at the recipe in detail beforehand, and at 6pm I realized the beans need to cook for 3 hours. Shucks.

I had to make a quick rebound! I went immediately for a go-to quick and easy recipe that Nicole sent to me a while back: Craig's Dal. It's a delicious and fast way to make a lentil dal, the trick being that you cook the lentils in the microwave. Wonderful! A great plan!

I invited Hilary to come on over. I made some jasmine rice. I prepped the onions and garlic. When she arrived, I told her the plan for the meal...

...And she told me she is allergic to coconut.

Another crisis! What to do? Dal is just not a dal without coconut milk!

I pondered, I thought, I contemplated. And, aha! I created a solution. I mixed one part Greek yogurt to one part milk. I combined it thoroughly with a fork, and, amazingly, it resembled the exact texture of coconut milk! A miracle! I was very pleased.

Craig's Dal

(I made half a recipe -- it was more than plenty for the two of us plus leftovers for me for lunch.)

375g (13.2 oz) red lentils (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chopped chilli
2-3 tablespoons vindaloo curry paste
400g (14-15 oz) can tomatoes
400ml (14-15 oz) can coconut milk
Rice, roti etc to serve

Place lentils in microwave-safe bowl and cover with water (about 1cm or 1/2 an inch over top). Cover and microwave 10-15 minutes or until cooked.

Meanwhile heat olive oil in pan and fry onion, garlic and chilli until onion is softened. Add vindaloo curry paste and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes (with liquid) and cooked lentils to onions.

Add coconut milk and stir until heated through.

Serve with rice and roti.

The coconut milk substitution was perfect! Still very flavorful, ideal texture, a very satisfactory substitute.

Hilary thinks this picture looks like a manatee is going to eat her.

Hilary loves this dinner.

For dessert we had sliced mango with more jasmine rice, honey, and a splash of chili powder. It was wonderful.

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