lunchbox life: curried dal, southern style


I know you may think that an Indian-Southern fusion dish might not work, but let me tell you, this is going to be so good for lunch this week.

If you’re an Indian food junkie like me, you know that dal is a Sanskrit word that means “to split.”  Typically, a dal dish is comprised of lentils, but sometimes you also see chickpeas or even black beans in these dishes.  This is a riff off of a Smitten Kitchen recipe, which was based on a New York Times recipe.  Instead of using spinach or swiss chard here, I used ripped and torn collard greens, which marry beautifully with the sweet potatoes (also a southern staple), the curry, and the garam masala.

I know that this dish won’t win any beauty contest, but the flavor is pretty spectacular.  This is a one pot dish that would be great on a cool night and even better as leftovers (like chili or lasagna).

Curried Dal, Southern Style

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. ginger, freshly grated

1 jalapeno pepper, minced (I kept the seeds in; remove them if you’re not as spice-hungry as me!)

1 1/2 tsp. curry powder

1 1/2 tsp. garam masala

4 cups vegetable broth (you can also use chicken broth if you don’t mind the dish not being vegetarian)

1 bay leaf

2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and small diced

1 lb. collard greens, stems removed and leaves torn into 1-inch strips (this doesn’t have to be precise)

1 tsp. salt

handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

3 scallions, chopped

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.  Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, jalapeno, curry, and garam masala.  Stir to combine.  Add the diced sweet potatoes, bay leaf, and broth.  Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then place the top on the pot and turn the heat back to medium; cook for 25 minutes.  Next, add the collard greens in one fistful at a time, letting the greens wilt with the heat and stirring.  Once all of the greens are added, place the top back on the pot and cook for 30 more minutes.  Serve the curried dal topped with cilantro and scallions.

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