Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Saag and Red Lentil Dal

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Saag and Red Lentil Dal

So last night I made Indian food for the first time. Neither Brett or I had ever had Indian food, but were interested as they use a lot of lentils and grains in their cuisine, which we are trying to get more of. Upon the advice of Lindsay (aka the Happy Herbivore), I opted to start out with her Saag and Red Lentil Dal, as she told me it was easy and good for ‘beginners’. I have to tell you, when I was making this, all I could think was ‘I’ve never used this many spices in my life!’. But she's right, it is very easy.

I will be completely honest, I’m not sure how I feel about Indian food at this point. Neither Brett or I liked the Saag, it was much too flavorful for either of our tastes. It was pretty funny, Brett took a bite and said ‘They must not like the taste of spinach very much.’ Hehe.

(For some reason, this picture of food reminded me of the Italian flag.)

The Red Lentil Dal, especially with some short grain brown rice was really good. Next time I make it I will use less garam masala though, it could have stood to have less flavor as well. Spicy I like, but there is just a lot of flavor going on, it takes some getting used to, but I saw its potential. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Especially when I pulled out all those spices, I turned the oven for frozen pizza just in case (it didn't come down to that). I can say, we won’t eat Saag again, but the Dal was good.

I will be trying one more of HH’s Indian dishes tomorrow night, Aloo Matar (I figured it was a safer bet seeing as how we like both potatoes ‘aloo’ and peas ‘matar’). Gotta give it a chance before deciding I don’t like it!

Tonight though, is the tried and true Spicy Smashed Kidney Bean and Sweet Potato Burrito. One of my favorites.

'Til next time!


pleasantly plump vegan said...

yeah, Indian food can be over powering but good for you guys for trying! we actually really love Indian food. my spice rack is out of control!!!

Anonymous said...

I thought it looks like a backwards italian flag too!! Very delicious looking... not that I'd eat a flag lol. But I'd eat what's on that plate, yum yum.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Definitely give indian food another chance!! I think it takes a little time to get use to the spices.
Funny about the flag comment...

Lizzy said...

Ha ha, now I can see it too =p

What a great dinner!
I've wanted to try that recipe, too. I have to thank Brett for making that comment on the saag, because I won't even try it now. I like the taste of spinach!
But I'm excited to find out how the red lentil daal tastes. I just didn't find garam masala yet but I guess it's an essential to this dish.

I think I've never had sweet potatoes either. What's wrong with me? =p

Jennifer said...

Pleasantly - I bet your spice rack is out of control! Haha! We definitely saw its potential and are excited to try again tonight!

Romina - Glad I'm not the only one who saw that! I wished I had taken the picture from the other side, it would have really looked like it then.

Vegan_Noodle - I will. It took us awhile to get used to certain Asian ingredients, so we will definitely try again. I am making Aloo Matar tonight and will probably try making a curry sometime soon.

Lizzy - Thanks. You should try the recipe, but don't avoid the Saag on our part! You might really like it, it could have just been us, and honestly, I could have done something wrong. I had no reference point as to what it was supposed to taste like. I'm not sure how vital garam masala is honestly, I know nothing about Indian food really, but I can say, be careful not to over do it.

You have NEVER HAD SWEET POTATOES?!?! They are fast becoming my favorite veggie. I use them so often, I think I will make a special label just for them. You must try sweet potatoes or yams (and butternut if and when you can find it). You'll love 'em!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Haha it DOES look like the Italian flag, which is funny considering it was an Indian meal!

Try Healthy Herbivore's meatloaf-- that stuff is awesome!

Anke said...

I know what you mean with the spices overpowering flavors, that's the same way I feel about Indian food sometimes. I always use MUCH less of the spices than indicated. the power of culture...

Cookiemouse said...

Red lentil dal is a great staple, but it is a good idea to go easy on the spices when you start eating Indian, as they can take some getting used to.

Happy Herbivore! said...

Whoops! I guess I should have mentioned it that they love spices... lol.

I'm glad you liked the Dal. I'm not the biggest Saag fan either... and I thought it looked like an Italian flag too!

Happy Herbivore! said...

@ lizzy,

you can make your own garam masala (i have a how to link on one of my indian posts) and you can do without it... some people completly omit it, but I am a big fan!

to get GM, youll need to haul it to a specialty shop

Jennifer said...

Cookiemouse - It doesn take some getting used to, I can't wait to try Indian food again!

Happy Herbivore - They DO love spices. The Dal was really good, we will have that again, we may even try the Saag again, just go very easy on the spices.

Good tip with the garam masala! I got lucky and was able to buy it from the bulk section at my local grocery store.