I’m still heavy into my ad-hoc Indian cooking phase. I visited an Indian grocer in Takoma Park, Maryland and brought home a new slew of ingredients: hot curry powder, coriander powder, ghee, hing, paneer and masoor dal. I went right home to cook, trying to perfect a no-recipe-necessary dal palak. I had a vegan friend coming over so I skipped the ghee, but added all of my new spices. I still couldn’t find the necessary depth, but it’s an improvement over the last. However, when I whipped the lentils into a dip for the next day’s party, it turned out perfectly.
Dal Palak Dip
I basically turned this recipe for Dal Palak into a dip:
Let oil (or ghee for non-vegans) get hot in a pan, then add your spices. I used: hot curry powder, regular curry powder, coriander powder, hing, cumin, black mustard seeds, fenugreek, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Let them go for a few minutes.
Measure 3/4 of a cup of udad lentils, rinse and pick through (I found some black specs and tossed them), then heat them with the spices for about 10 minutes, . Add 3 cups of water, cover and let simmer until soft. The lentils tasted a bit bitter, so I added pickled ramp vinegar (I think any vinegar would do) and some lemon extract. A few minutes before serving, I threw in torn spinach leaves to just-wilt into the lentils.
For the next days dip, I used the left over lentils and added coriander chutney, tamarind sauce and a extra few spinach and parsley leaves and blended it together in a mini food processor. It’s topped with black mustard seeds and spicy chickpea flour sticks for extra crunch.