It's half a year and a day since Nora and I had last met. It's lovely to have her back in Helsinki and it was so good to catch up with her. (And it's been a while since I cooked anything on The Green Kitchen Project but now here we go!)
SWEET APRICOT & CAULIFLOWER DAL
1/2tbsp coriander seeds
1/2tsp mustard seeds
1/2tsp cardamom seeds
1/2tbsp curry powder
1/2tsp ground ginger
a pinch of chili powder
6 organic dried apricots, chopped in half
2-3tbsp coconut oil for frying (or ghee or olive oil)
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
200g red lentils
750ml coconut milk
200g fresh spinach
(a large handful of coriander/cilantro)
Trust me, freshly ground spices make all the difference.
Grind the first four spices (I used ground cardamom) in a pestle and mortar. Add the rest of the spices and and apricots and mix with your fingers. Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the spice blend and stir constantly. Fry until it smells fragrant and looks browned but be careful not to burn to spices. Add chopped onion and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring. Add the cauliflower and the carrots and stir until they are fully coated by the spices. Then add the lentils, coconut milk and water and stir well. Let simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are cooked through. Season with salt to taste. Last stir the spinach in (and garnish with cilantro if you like).
My dal tasted delicate but didn't look very pretty. I let it cook a little too long so the lentils got all mushy and the cauliflowers a bit too soft. I also felt it could've had more spices, a little kick of something, a little more warmth - but now as I wrote the recipe here I realized I'd measured all the spices with a teaspoon so I was missing a whole lot of coriander and curry there! I'll fix that next time; I'm definitely making this again. I really liked the apricots but only really tasted them once. I used six and chopped them in small pieces; next time I'll throw in 10 or more and just chop them in half or quarters.
Soundtrack for the recipe: Weaver of dreams by Esperanza Spalding
To accompany the dal I had a go on a new recipe of pan rolls (that Pete made for us in Berlin). They turned out soft and moist and perfectly delicious!
PAN ROLLS(makes 8-10)
200ml turkish yoghurt
11 g dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
3tbsp olive oil
600ml flour (I used half wheat, half fine spelt)
Mix yoghurt and water and warm till 42 decrees. Add the rest of the ingredients mixing after each one. Add flours in parts and mix them in with your hands. (The dough will be very soft.) Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to rise for about a half an hour or until the dough is double in size. Form small rolls (15mm thick) using flour. Pour olive oil on a plate and dip both sides of the rolls in it. Fry the rolls on medium heat on a dry pan, a few minutes on both sides. (If you're using spelt flour, note that it burns easily!)