Monday, October 02, 2006
i am a big fan of indian food, but it's never been really accessible for me in terms of cooking at home. trader joes has a few jarred sauces that aren't too bad, but not exactly authentic. i've purchased a few cookbooks in the past, but never really been able to produce anything that was quite authentic. unfortunately, i just don't have access to an indian grandmother. i really love dal (lentils) and i've tried to cook them before, but i've never been able to get that indian restaurant consistency to my end product. i almost gave up...
enter, the internet. i've been lurking on some very cool indian cooking blogs for some time now, religiously delicio.us-ing recipes. some of my favorite sites are saffron trail and sailu's food. i came across a great recipe the other day on saffron trail, for parsi dhansak, which uses pumpkin and dal. i was very excited to try this, because i received some pumpkin (well, kabocha squash) in my crop share the other day and wasn't quite sure what i was going to do with it. you can check out the recipe here.
simply put, this dish was just plain rad. it had the right consistency and the right flavor. it actually seemed like something i would get at a restaurant. my bunky really liked it, too, and actually ate a vegetarian meal without asking why he was being served just a side dish. i have to thank nandita at saffron trail for sharing this recipe and helping me along the road to learning how to make home cooked indian food. now that i have my feet wet, i'm really looking forward to trying out some more recipes.
even better, this dish is good and good for you: there's only about two tablespoons of oil in the whole thing; lentils are a great source of vegetarian protein; and pumpkins are rich in vitamin c, beta carotene and fiber. in fact, pumpkins are an anti-oxidant rich food, which makes this a perfect entry for sweetnicks' arf/5-a-day tuesday!