Day 16: “Simply Delicious, My Dhaling”

16 12 2009

Spinach Dhal with Naan Bread


As you can guess from the header, today is dhal. Not having a tremendous experience with  Indian cuisine, I have been experiementing with some recipes and flavor profiles. There are number of excellent recipes of Indian dishes over at Chow and Chatter ( and Rebecca deserves some inspiratory credit for inspiring this dish, however, the recipes are my own so any shortcoming is strictly on my end. I have really enjoyed these flavors and found them delicious. Part of the Joy of Cooking involves exploring all areas of inspiration and being unafraid to tread there. When you have become too concerned with your reputation or ego to risk failure you have stopped learning. At that point you are merely a “kitchen technician”. I hope you enjoy my interpretation of Indian cuisine and as Kumar might say; “Thank you, come again.”

Spinach Dhal

  • 8 oz lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable nage
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • 2 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 hot chile, thinly sliced

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the lentils (after rinsing) to a boil with the water, nage, turmeric and ginger. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add the spinach and cilantro and cook for another 8-10 minutes. In a small pan, heat the oil and add the garlic, shallot, cumin, mustard, coriander, curry and hot pepper. Cook over high heat for 2 minutes to release the flavors. Add this to the lentils, stir season with salt and pepper and serve with warm naan.

Naan bread

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package rapid rise dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 4 cups bread flour ( ~22 oz)
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour (~2.5 oz)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fennel
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl stir in yeast, sugar, milk, egg, salt, and flour to make soft dough. I do this in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Remember, if you use active yeast you will need to dissolve the yeast in warm water and let stand about 10 minutes, before adding to the flour.  Use the stand mixer until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the sides. The dough will still be slightly sticky. If performing by hand, knead for 8to 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Add garlic, onion, cilantro and fennel and knead into the dough, assuring good distribution. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise about1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume. Punch down the dough. Make small balls of dough of about 2 oz..Place these on a tray, cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat a grill to high heat or an electric non-stick griddle to 400 degrees F. Roll the balls of dough out into a thin circle. Before placing the dough on grill, lightly oil the grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush the uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and serve.

Spinach Dhal with Naan Bread




2 responses

16 12 2009

oh well done it looks great, esp. your naan bread I have been with my hubby for 9 years and I takes time to get Indian cooking only now do my chapatti’s turn out really well!
do you have an Indian store where you live? sambar powder a South Indian spice blend is good in dal.
Thanks so much for the mention so happy I found your blog Rebecca

17 12 2009

We don’t live near an Indian store, but I will look for it and give that a try. Thanks!!

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