Hello, Dal…

Austin, Texas is a city that knows how to do BBQ right.  Frankly, despite my commitment toward a completely meat-free diet, I recognize the human condition and allow myself transgressions on the path toward dietary enlightment.  In other words, I succumbed to the siren call of some delicious brisket and enjoyed it thoroughly.  Frankly, meat just isn’t very good for your health.  Given all the delicious plant-based alternatives for protein, I haven’t changed my opinion that veganism is the optimal diet…  on that note that I have two more really terrific vegan recipes to share.
The first is a recipe I found on the internet for dal (or dahl or daal or dhal).  Dal is a spicy
lentil dish, traditional to Indian cuisine.

Spicy Lentil Dahl


  • 1 T. sesame oil or, alternatively, olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 T. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. coriander
  • 1 t. tumeric
  • ¼ t. cardamom
    • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
    • 1 t. salt, or to taste
    • 2 T. tomato paste

In a 3-quart stockpot or other medium-sized soup pot, heat the sesame oil over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.

2. Stirring constantly, add the water or broth, lentils, spices and salt. Bring to a low boil, then turn down the heat to low, cover and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are very tender.

3. Stir in the tomato paste until well combined. Cook several minutes more, or until the soup is desired temperature and consistency, adding more water to the dahl if needed.

The second recipe that turned out well was Vegetable Curry from a 1976 cookbook by Karen Brooks titled The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.  If you see a copy in the used bookstore grab it, even if it is old and yellowed.  I changed the recipe a little because I didn’t have all the ingredients, and find it very flexible and would be successful with most any veggies you have on hand.      
Vegetable Curry 
  • 2 tbs earth balance “butter”
  • 3 c cooked brown rice
  • 1/3 c zucchini thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c yellow squash thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c chopped green pepper
  • 1 small tomato chopped
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • dash black pepper
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • 2 tbs water
Heat “butter” in a large skillet or wok.  Add the rice and brown lightly over moderate heat.   Add the vegetables, seasonings and water.  Cover the skillet with a lid.  Turn heat to low and simmer until vegetables are tender.
I used a cup of zucchini, about a cup of frozen spinach, and 1/2 c green pepper instead of the suggested vegetables, so be creative.                                           

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