NurseBobbi's Profile

From: Springfield, VA USA

Joined: November 24th, 2011

Favorite cookbook: The Peaceful Palate

Favorite recipe: My mom's sour cherry pie


Latest review:

December 11th, 2011

Neela's Eggplant and Potato from Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking

I've been making this vegetable side dish since the early '80s. It's easy to prepare and is flavored with black mustard seed, coriander, cumin, and turmeric. I omit the cayenne because I like it a bit... read more >

recipe reviews (5)
book reviews (1)
useful review votes (14)

NurseBobbi's Reviews

Search Reviews:

1 recipe(s) reviewed. Showing 1 to 1Sort by: Title | Date | Rating

Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking

By Julie Sahni
William Morrow Cookbooks - 1985

5th December 2011 (edited: 5th December 2011)

Bengal Red Lentils with Spices (Bengali Masar Dal) : page 329

My copy of this book opens to this recipe; the page is scribbled on and water-stained. I could live on this stuff ladled over rice. I've tried other dal recipes, but I always come back to this one. The recipe is vegan unless ghee is used. I've always used canola oil (vegetable oil is listed as an option in place of the ghee). It's plenty flavorful without the use of butter.

There are three basic steps involved in this recipe: cooking the red lentils; preparing onions, tomatoes, and ginger to flavor the lentils; and preparing the spice mixture to add near the end of lentil cooking. It's a fair amount of work, but well worth it. The flavorings in the spice mix are Bengal Panch Phoron (whole cumin, fennel, black mustard, fenugreek, and black onion seeds), bay leaf, red chili pods, and garlic. This combination is the reason I love this recipe. (I use the Panch Phoron mix to flavor sauteed greens, too.)

I recently converted this recipe for use in my slow cooker and it worked beautifully. I still prepared the flavoring and spice mixtures separately, but then I tossed them in the Crock-Pot with the uncooked lentil cooking ingredients. That way the work was done up front and there was no flurry of work at the end.

Sahni's instructions are easy to follow, but the lentil-cooking instructions refer to the basic legume preparation instructions on an earlier page. I know that doing it that way saves redundancy (and book pages), but I like to have all my instructions with the recipe. That's the main reason I've written in the book. (The other reason is to write the quantities for half a recipe, but I never cut it in half anymore. The leftovers are great and would last longer than they ever do in my fridge.)

useful (5)