Tuesday, October 28, 2008
My family loves legumes. We enjoy them in a variety of dishes from salads to comforting stews. They're an easy way to create a satisfying vegetarian course full of flavor and protein. The advantages of making them a staple in your meal-planning go beyond good taste--they are economical as well.
Legumes are fruits that have been dried. In France, the word "legume" means vegetable, while in the english language it identifies specifically the dried fruits inside pods. Its wide-spread use is not surprising. One can imagine how easy it would have been for different varieties to cross borders, as people migrated. Through-out history, it has been used as an excellent source of protein or an extender when meat was scarce. From the tiny lentil to the fatty peanut, they vary widely in size, taste, fat content and texture.
This recipe is a perfect example of how you can turn legumes into a fantastic meal. It features split peas and chana dal, as well as creamy pumpkin, an array of spices and fragrant basmati rice.
Legume Puree with Pumpkin and Rice (serves 6-8)
If you cannot find chana dal (available at natural/health food stores and Indian markets), replace it with some yellow split peas instead and proceed as per the recipe.
1 cup chana dal
1 cup green spilt peas
4 cups diced pumpkin, or butternut squash
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried funegreek leaves
4 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups cooked basmati rice
1 cup plain yogurt (I favor goat yogurt)
1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chaat masala seasoning (available in international or indian markets)
Soak the chana dal and split peas overnight. Rinse well. Transfer to large pot with diced pumpkin, turmeric, ground cumin, water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the peas, beans and pumpkin are very tender.
In a small pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Saute until they start to sizzle and crackle. Pour fragrant mixture into the dal pot along with the cooked rice. Mix well. Let simmer, uncovered, until the mixture thickens slightly. Make sure you mix often.
Make the yogurt sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl (keep refrigerated until ready to serve with the dal).
Serve the dal/rice mixture in a bowl, topped with a generous spoon of the yogurt sauce.
During this busy time of the year, in order to keep up the quality of my posts, I feel the need to go to biweekly postings. From now on, I will be posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and additionally for special events such as Daring Bakers. I have some wonderful recipes in the works-- I look forward to sharing them with you.
More legume recipes:
Edamame Avocado Spread
Black Lentil Soup with Kale and turnip chips