I found just the recipe- one that fit the bill in all of the above categories... and made my house smell delicious.
It comes from one of those newly accumulated cookbooks that I mentioned at the start of this 'new recipe project.' An Invitation to Indian Cooking, by Madhur Jaffrey. I was truly excited to crack this book open. Ever since I made a simple Indian dish over a year ago, I've wanted to try more... to taste more... to learn more about this irresistible cuisine. The simplicity, the flavor, the variety- I'm utterly intrigued. Basic ingredients such as lentils, peas, potatoes, cauliflower- are transformed into exceedingly delicious (and healthy!) meals. Who knew that lentils could taste so good????? And often, with only a few spices- and at an extremely low cost (a huge plus).
Thanks to Naina, I've been able to try a few more exceedingly delicious recipes, and thanks to Bruce, I was led to what is referred to as 'the final word on the subject' of Indian cooking. And I can't wait to cook my way through it.
dal [split-pea] soup
*from an invitation to indian cooking, by madhur jaffrey
[including her excerpt because I like it :)...]
My mother used to make this mild-flavored "split-pea" soup. The only spices in it were cloves, peppercorns, and turmeric. It was served with lemon wedges and homemade croutons.serves 8 (as a side- but we had it for dinner, & there were no leftovers)
1 1/2 cups green or yellow split peas, washed
6 cups chicken broth
24 black peppercorns
15 whole cloves (tied in cheesecloth along with the peppercorns)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 - 3/4 tsp salt (more if broth is unsalted)
8 lemon wedges
croutons made from 6 slices of slightly stale bead and enough vegetable oil to cover 1/2-3/4 inch in a 10-inch skillet (I used sourdough- and much less vegetable oil)
Combine the split peas and chicken broth in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove scum from the top.
Add the spices in the cheesecloth, the turmeric, and the salt. Cover, lower heat, and simmer gently for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. or until peas are tender. Remove cheesecloth from soup, squeeze through a strainer, using the back of a spoon, or put it through a food mill. If the soup seems too thick, add a little water.
Serve in bowls, garnished with lemon wedge. Pass around croutons on the side.
(These can be prepared ahead of time.)
Remove crusts and cut slices of bread into 1/2 in. cubes.
Heat oil in skillet over medium flame, and put in a third of the croutons. Fry for 3 or 4 minutes, turning them around, until they are golden brown. Lift out with slotted spoon and leave to drain on paper towels. Prepare the rest of the croutons in two more batches, and leave to drain.
- I wanted to try our new blender out, so I blended the soup instead of pressing it through a strainer, or food mill. It thinned the soup out a bit too much. I'd recommend the strainer, food mill, or blending only 1/2 of the soup so that it retains a thicker consistency.
Not sure what my menu will consist of for the rest of the week, but one thing's for certain. I will not let the week go by without trying Stephanie's roasted tomato caprese salad (her description has left me craving it for an entire week). Make sure you visit her later today to learn how to make one of the best sauces known to culinary arts...
a balsamic reduction.