Warming Red Lentil Dhal

“I prayed for ten normal appetites and thought with amused nostalgia of my usual lunch…” M.F.K. Fisher, Love in a Dish and Other Culinary Delights
red-lentil-dhal-potIt’s so easy to hate on Gwyneth Paltrow that I do it all the time. The stick-straight hair, the stick-thin figure, the “conscious uncoupling,” the lifestyle hawking. But, here’s the thing, her GOOP recipes are actually excellent, even the detox ones. I’ve been making her Indian Spiced Black Lentil Dhal-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes for months now for lunch. Sometimes if I have time, I’ll roast cubed sweet potatoes tossed with olive oil, cumin, and salt and serve the lentils over that instead of the plain roasted sweet potatoes. It’s delicious and really filling. I find that when I eat this for lunch, I’m usually good for a few hours, unlike when I was eating sandwiches or meals with lots of bread in them.

Part of me thinks that the coconut milk–full of those rich fared-lentil-dhal-bowlts–is the reason. Having run out of fancy and pricey black lentils (there you go again, Gwynnie, making us dislike you!), I decided to adapt this a bit to a red lentil dhal. Red lentils can be found at every supermarket anywhere, are super cheap and full of fiber and lean protein.

Warming Red Lentil Dhal

  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup of chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 c of coconut milk
  • whole spices of your choosing, though I really like a cinnamon stick, 1 t (or more) whole coriander, 1 t (or more) whole cumin
  • ground spices of your choosing like garlic powder, sumac, turmeric, cayenne, chipotle powder
  • salt
  • oil

Warm a couple tablespoons of oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add whole spices and toast them until they smell fragrant, just a minute or so. Add the lentils and mix thoroughly over heat for another minute. Add ground spices. You want the dhal to be tasty, but don’t go overboard, since you can add more ground spices later. Pour in the stock and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. The dhal should look creamy, but not soupy. Serve over rice or roasted vegetables.


Dark Chocolate Covered Gingerbread

“I shall remember always the mysterious beautiful sensation of wellbeing I felt…”
~MFK Fisher, Consider the Oyster

I am no action painter.
I am no action painter.

When I was in graduate school at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, one of my favorite treats was to scoop out a bagful of dark chocolate covered crystallized ginger fromĀ a gravity bin at one of the several fantastic food co-ops in the city. My first year in graduate school was difficult, alienating and lonely. But, after some soul-searching and ending a toxic relationship, I found my footing. Food always plays a role in that for me. Those little candies were something I had discovered, were my treat, and gave me a sense of wellbeing. Continue reading “Dark Chocolate Covered Gingerbread”