Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recipe: Chana Dal with Hidden Spinach

Spinach.  One of the most delicious leafy greens on this planet.  Unfortunately for me my family does not agree with this statement.  I love it.  My family...well, they don't love it. 

On my last trip to Costco I splurged and bought an entire Costco-sized container of spinach knowing full well that I would be eating it all by myself.  That was until I invented a secret recipe weapon that hides the spinach so that no one knows it's in there.  Genius.  I know. 

My grandma bought me the Bob's Red Mill cookbook for Christmas and it is full of all sorts of unique and healthy recipes that seem fairly easy to make.  The last time I was at Bob's I bought a package of Chana Dal.  If you are anything like me then you might have seen these words on a menu in some Indian restaurant before, but not really known what it is.  Essentially it is a bean that looks like a split pea, but acts more like a garbanzo.  A great thing about this food is that it is low on the glycemic index which translates to keeping your blood sugar at more of an even level so you don't get the hunger spikes throughout the day. 

So I set out making the Bob's recipe.  Here is the original recipe. 

Chana Dal with Spinach

1 tsp veg oil
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion finely chopped
2 green chilies finely chopped
1/2 cup dried chana dal soaked in water for one hr and drained
1/4 tsp tumeric
salt to taste
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp coconut
1 bunch of spinach chopped
1 TB freshly squeezed lime juice

For a few reasons, I deviated from the recipe.  A) I have trouble following any recipe without improvising.  B)  I didn't have tumeric C) When I got done putting it all together it was not as saucy as I wanted it to be to go over rice.  So here is my modification of Bob's recipe. 

Chana Dal with HIDDEN spinach

1 tsp veg oil
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dried mustard
1 onion chopped
2 cans of green chilies
1 cup dried chana dal soaked for an hour
1 tsp nutmeg
1 quart of tomatoes
2-4 TB of dried curry
A whole bunch of spinach chopped up as tiny as possible with my hand blender

I fried up the onions until brown and added the chilies in for a few min.  Then I added everything else in the pan and simmered for about 10 min.  Then I had to leave to take my daughter to gymnastics so I quickly threw it in the crock pot on high and left it for about an hour and 20 min.  When we got home it smelled delicious. 

To put on top, I made a dip that also had spinach in it.  I used a small amount of Vegenaise (dairy-free mayo) and blended up one medium sized tomato with another large bunch of spinach until it was like a dip.  I also used a little bit of vegetable salt and pepper.  Then with sliced lime to squeeze over top, sliced avocado, and rice to go underneath, dinner was ready. 

I waited until my family was eating and told me how good it was to let them on the secret of the spinach.  Even my daughter didn't cringe when I told her and she might have even taken seconds.  I would call that a success if I've ever had one.  Surprisingly it did taste very good, much better than I expected.  You never know when you make something up or try something new, but this one is good for a repeat I think. 

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