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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our Happy Healthy Cooks LOVED today's lesson on India!

Today we made Curried Red Lentil Dahl, and we had a special guest, my friend Shashi Jain. She came dressed in traditional Indian clothing and brought a beautiful selection of clothing, toys and jewels from India. She told us about her life growing up in India and shared bindi with all the girls. Bindi is the jewel or red mark married women in India wear (it is also becoming popular to wear the bindi even if you are not married... fashion trumps tradition!) We listened and danced to Bhangra music, too! (check out bhangra dancing on you tube when you get a chance) It was so much fun!

The kids LOVED the Curried Red Lentil Dahl, I mean LOVED it!

Red Lentil Curried Dahl

Dahl is the Indian name for any member of the legume family—lentils, split peas, chick peas, and beans. Dahl recipes are traditionally made fairly thick and may be served over rice or with flatbread and a vegetable side dish. Many people in India eat with their right hand (instead of utensils), and flatbreads are served with meals because they can help scoop up all kinds of food. (Remember in North Africa, people eat with their thumb and pointer finger, but in India the entire hand can be used.)
Indian cooking features many delicious fragrant spices. There are more than one hundred spices used in Indian cooking! In traditional Indian cuisine, whole spices are roasted, and then ground, and then are added to the dahl. A simpler method is to use already ground spices to make your own curry blend.
Many people in India do not eat any meat (they are vegetarians). They enjoy lentils, beans, grains (especially rice), vegetables and fruits in their traditional recipes.

Here's the recipe:


1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, diced
1 red or green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger root
Curry Spices:
8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp Salt
(Alternatively, you can use “Curry powder” instead)

2 small potatoes, peeled and cut in very small cubes
1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, with juices
3 cups red or brown lentils or yellow or green split peas
4 cups water

Fresh cilantro, minced (optional)

Directions :
* Saute onions, garlic, and peppers in oil unitl soft, about 5 minutes.
* Add spices and saute for 1 minute.
* Add potatoes, tomatoes, water, ginger, and lentils.
* Cover and bring to boil.
* Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils and potatoes are soft.

The dahl should be fairly thick; if necessary add more water. Chop the cilantro while the dahl is cooking. Put cilantro in a small bowl for an optional topping once the dahl is served. Eat with Indian Flat bread.

Here are some of our bindi-wearing girls!

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