Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Curried lentils with Swiss Chard

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We went to a pick-your-own farm in North London last weekend and brought back our bounty of fruit and vegetables. I don't think I've ever eaten strawberries that were so juicy and sweet and oh what pleasure just plucking them off the plant and popping them into your mouth. Yeah yeah I didn't wash it or wipe it or anything, just ate them with all the gusto I could muster on that hot summer day.

The 10 acres of land was filled with fruits and veggies of all sorts- from blackberries, to raspberries to beetroot to courgettes- I had a tough time deciding what I wanted to bring back. Ro who, till now, was of the opinion that strawberries were so over rated, succumbed to the stereotype and decided strawberries and cream were most certainly heavenly. I had major plans of making strawberry this and strawberry that, but at the rate its going I don't think I'll have any left to make my planned desserts, instead we have just been devouring them with whipped cream. Yummville!
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I had picked up some swiss chard as well and honestly it was the after effect of an article I wrote recently about growing swiss chard and since then I have been curious. I knew it was part of the spinach family, but hoped it wasn't like the radish greens I recently cooked which was quite bitter. Maybe it was a mistake I did, but I don't think I will be trying that out again.

Initial plan was to make a gratin with the chard, but then slight miscalculations and a whole day spent on a debate with my friends on fb, with bits and pieces of writing thrown in between meant I had very little time to prepare dinner. So I decided to incorporate the chard into a dal preparation. Thanks to the pressure cooker, frozen chapathis and the last stash of chicken cutlets, dinner was ready in no time. The downside however was that I missed out on the lighting bit and hence the dark, shadowy pics. Well, you gain some, you lose some right?

So anyways, I made the dal and it turned out good. The chard tastes very similar to spinach, just that I thought it didn't wilt as much as the spinach and so there was enough greens floating around in my lentil curry. I am hoping to use up the other veggies I picked up asap and as time permits will blog about it too.
(Damn the articles I'm writing, I sound so bloody formal here too) :( :(
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Masoor dal- 1/4 cup
Toor dal- 1/4 cup
Mung dal- 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Swiss chard- about 3 cups chopped and packed (washed properly and the tough stalks removed)
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Onion- 1 medium, thinly sliced
Garlic paste- 1 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder- 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida- a pinch
Fenugreek powder- a pinch
Coriander powder- 1.2 tsp
Lime juice- a dash
Garam amsala- 1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste
Oil- 1 tbsp
Water- about 2 cups
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Throw in the dals (washed), turmeric powder, swiss chard and salt along with water into the pressure cooker, give it a good stir and cook on medium heat for about 3 whistles. Release the pressure and keep aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in frying pan and add the cumin seeds.
Once it sizzles, add the onions and garlic paste and wait for it to cook and wilt a bit.
Add all the powders- chilli, coriander, asafoetida and fenugreek- and saute well. Cook till the raw smell disappears.
Put the pressure cooker with the cooked dal back on medium flame and add the onion mix. Stir well to combine,
Do a taste test and add more salt, spice as per requirement and bring to a boil.
Add a dash of lemon juice and sprinkle some garam masala on top, give a final stir and take it off the flame.
Pour into individual containers and serve as soup or as a side to rice or roti.
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Notes: Add chickpeas (garbanzo) to this and it can be converted to a stew on a cold winters night.
Replace chard with spinach and you have palak dal.
You can do the above prep with any dal of choice.
Freeze it once it cools down and trust me it will be a blessing on a day you don't want to cook.

38 comments:

Santosh Bangar said...

healthy dal looking tempting

Vimitha Anand said...

Healthy and yummy curry...

Umm Mymoonah said...

Real comfort food, very delicious.

Lovee to cook said...

honest and fresh . i love reading ur posts.

ente pachakasala said...

delicious

Ananda Rajashekar said...

I would have been fanatic too in the farm not knowing wat to pick and wat not...good that you had so much of luscious fun!! never tried swiss chard, should give it a go...you 3rd pic in darkness and dark bg which i'm love gives a very sp mood!

Priti said...

Dal looks yum with interesting twist

Priyanka said...

Healthy, tempting and yummy :)

aipi said...

I love adding greens to my dal, never tried swiss chard, have to give it a go :)
US Masala

SravsCulinaryConcepts said...

Healthy dal and love to have with steamed rice and papads !!

Ongoing Event - CC-Roti Pachadi/Chutney

Krithi's Kitchen said...

Looks like you had lots of fun! swiss chard dhal looks super good...

Sayantani said...

love those clicks of juicy ripe berries...the dal looks lovely.

Suja said...

Comfort food..looks so delicious..

Reshmi Mahesh said...

Dal looks good...I have never used swiss chard in dal...

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Healthy, delicious and comforting dal. Excellent clicks.

Deepa
Hamaree Rasoi

DD said...

never tried, new to me looks delicious!!

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Prathima Rao said...

I would have gone crazy too looking at all those juicy, sweet strawberries!! And this dal looks so comforting & healthy!!
Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

Nithya said...

Sounds comforting and simple :) Wow berries!! waiting to see what you make with it. :)

Nitha said...

Swiss Chard is quite good for thoran too. especially the one which we make with egg.

I love this veggie as much as I do spinach

Sunshine And Smile said...

I think your writing is beautiful .. formal or informal :) I have been dying to experience berry picking but it's just not happening.. i really have to do that before we are back to Fall.
www.sunhineandsmile.com

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

That looks delicious dear :)

Heidi said...

That looks delicious! I love dal and I always need ways to use up swiss chard. I also really love your pictures of those berries - so beautiful!

Satrupa said...

I too luv going for 'pick your own' ....... And ditto I pop them without even bothering to wipe or wash them. A super cool idea on incorporating swiss chard into the everyday daal :)

Swathi said...

That looks perfect comfort meal. your writing is perfect.

divya said...

Slurp..drooling here.Its so yummy..

Yummy Team said...

Healthy and delicious dal..Tempting clicks Nisha..

Rekha shoban said...

healthy curry!!

Sharmilee! :) said...

Comforting curry...

Tina said...

Healthy and delicious dal..

Yaz said...

Hey Nisha, love this recipe!
Where is the PYO Farm in North London? I live in North London but didn't know there was one around here! Very excited to head over there as my chard isn't big enough for cooking with yet and I'd love to try this recipe.
Thanks!

Yaz x

Prathibha said...

never tasted swiss chard looks yummy

An Open Book said...

hey yaz the PYO farm is in enfield. its called park side farms and its fabulous :)

schmetterlingwords said...

Hi Nisha, I have seen these chards in the farmer's markets here. I had no clue what to do with them and so didnt buy. See, here comes your recipe. Good to know that it could be used with daal just like spinach. Shall try next time :)

Yaz said...

Thanks Nisha

We'll definitely be going there, we're only in East Finchley so not far at all. Sam tried some of our baby chard and said he loved it more then spinach and if he never ate spinach again he wouldn't care as long as he has chard. I got three text messages last night about how great he thinks it is. heh heh

SpicyTasty said...

Dal looks wonderful. perfect for rotis.

Sushma Mallya said...

This looks delicious and yummy !

khushi said...

this daal combination is very unique....loved the clicks....they are very colorful and sharp....nice recipe

Sarah said...

for some really weird reason unknown to me, I thought swiss chard was some kind of cheese!!! thanks for the enlightenment.. i love adding green leafy veggies to dals, chapatis etc (easier to sneak it into my kid's diet).. ur dish looks so wholesome and yummy!