Batter Licker

March 24, 2011

asian cabbage rolls with spicy lentils

When I saw Faith Durand’s recipe for Asian Cabbage Rolls with Spicy Pork, I immediately decided that I had to make it, but with lentils in lieu of pork. Lentils work very well with garlic and ginger in Indian food, so I expected them to do just as well with the same base flavors augmented by the quintessentially Asian combination of sesame, soy, green onion, and cilantro. And they did.

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These spicy lentil-stuffed cabbage rolls were so packed with flavor (not to mention nutrients and other healthful qualities) and so satisfying that I craved them for a few days afterwards. (more…)

March 17, 2011

aloo palak dal (indian-spiced lentils, spinach and potatoes)

To those of you who didn’t jump the gun like I did to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with cabbage and celery root in drunken mustard last week (and then again last weekend with a full-on family shebang), I hope you’re wearing green clothes, drinking and cooking with whiskey and beer, picking on your favorite leprechaun, and planning to make cheesy corned beef hash bread tomorrow with your leftovers.

As for me, it’s time for more whiskey and beer some Indian food that’s equally cheap as cabbage and potatoes (but isn’t boiled to death while everyone is distracted by adult beverages and rowdy conversations and then smothered in a spicy mustard disguise at the dinner table because obviously, after several whiskey shots and black and tans, this is the best cabbage ever!).

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One of the benefits of eating vegan (or reducing meat and processed foods, at least) during the week is how cheap my grocery bill has become. I’m talking $20 per week for two people cheap, which, compared to my formerly $60-70 per week bill, is ridiculously low. I should probably go buy a new toy to play with a very necessary device for my kitchen to reward myself.

The other major benefit comes in the form of Indian food. (more…)

February 23, 2011

chard-wrapped lentil sloppy joe’s

Many people have fond memories of eating sloppy joe’s for dinner as a kid. I am not one of those people. Yes, my mom occasionally made sloppy joe’s. And yes, I generally enjoyed eating them – until my family went to Knott’s Berry Farm. During that trip, my sister Kate ate a ton of barbecue beans. And then we went on some swirly rides. Eventually, we were driven home and got into bed. Totally uneventful. Several hours into the middle of the night, I woke up to the kind of surprise that ruins barbecue anything for a very long time: projectile barbecue beans. Kate had sat straight up in bed and spewed all over the room, spattering my bed in the process.

That memory scarred me so deeply that, to this day, I still can’t stomach barbecue beans. But lentils are a different story altogether.

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Lentils I love in any form, especially with Indian spices but also flavored only with a spoonful of sambal oelek Asian chili paste and a dollop of Greek yogurt. They’re healthy, easy to make, cook fairly quickly, pair nicely with a variety of vegetables and herbs (which is especially convenient when I have ones that need to be used quite badly), and hold up well enough in the refrigerator to provide an entire week’s worth of lunches. So I always keep some in my pantry.

When I found myself with some extra bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes laying around, not to mention a craving for meat on a vegan weeknight, I turned to lentils. They hold their shape and have just enough substance to make you forget these sloppy joe’s are meatless. And besides, the veggie-laden barbecue sauce is delicious, even if you choose to use ground meat instead. (more…)

April 22, 2010

kale and jalapeño red lentil dal with cumin-red pepper tempering oil

Filed under: beans,indian,vegan — Tags: , , , , , , — Kristen @ 6:30 pm

I’m a big fan of warm, mushy-but-not-slimy comfort foods. Any mashed potatoes that I’ve ever come into contact with while having access to a spoon, a fork, or – in truly desperate situations – just a finger could affirm that much, but all traces of them would have disappeared by now. Same goes for refried bean-filled burritos. So when I happen upon a warm, mushy, comfort food that’s actually healthy, I get a little obsessed. Just ask lentils.

These babies have been my go-to food for those many cold, grey, and just plain sad- and grumpy-looking days in San Francisco from November through April. They’ve not only warmed my belly and my spirit along with it, but also have kept me eating healthily and feeling full (both of which kept me from digging into too many bowls of mashed potatoes and mac and cheese this winter).

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But enough of the healthy-and-filling yada-yada-ing … these lentils are also yummy! The kale basically melts into the lentils, while the jalapeño adds a little peppery bite. Mixed with the tempering oil, the lentils take on the smokey flavor of cumin and the spicy-sweet flavor of paprika. (more…)

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