Get Your Ass to an Indian Grocery Store
Get your ass to an Indian grocery store. I can’t even pretend to start this post with a cute little intro. You just need to find one, budget an hour plus of browsing time, and thank me later. The store will amaze you with its aisles of spices and spice blends, varieties of dal and boxes and boxes of in-minutes dinners. I’ve never purchased a Lean Cuisine but for some reason I thought it was perfectly acceptable to buy boil-in-a-bag, ready-in-2-minute versions of palak paner (spinach and cheese), chana masala (chickpeas in tomato sauce), dal makhani (creamy black dal) and paner makhani (cheese in a cashew cream sauce). I haven’t tried them yet, as I’m saving them for a night I can’t bare to cook.
In the meantime, another purchase inspired me to actually cook. And my about-to-expire Greek yogurt became the perfect addition to my almost-Indian dinner.
And don’t worry, I’ll try to stop my love-of-the-dash current obsession for the recipe portion of this post.
Dal Palak (Spinach and Lentils) with Yogurt and Coriander Chutney
Measure 3/4 of a cup of udad lentils, rinse and pick through (I found some black specs and tossed them), then heat them through with a bit of oil for about 10 minutes, adding curry powder, cumin, black mustard seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of water, cover and let simmer until soft.
The lentils still tasted bland, so it was time for some creaminess from the yogurt and then some heat from the coriander chutney. I actually bought a tikka masala from a regular grocery store, so I threw in a few spoonfuls of that as well. I added salt and pepper and then the ultimate saver, Maggi sauce. A few minutes before serving, add torn spinach leaves to just-wilt into the lentils.
Serve with nan (or other bread), more yogurt and chutney. I added some almonds for crunch, but they’re not necessary. Or at least not the Target brand almonds—mine came out of the package stale.