Vegan Richa has a fantastic recipe blog that eased me into really loving Indian food. Last year when she announced she was looking for recipe testers for her new book Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen, I quickly volunteered.
From May through October, I regularly tested Richa’s recipes. From dals and deserts to flatbreads and snacks, Brian and I were treated to some incredible food. Sometimes, when I knew I should be trying a new recipe, I would make one I already tested because I loved it so much. There are quite a few recipes in her book that I’ve already made multiple times.
So for all those blog posts when I didn’t post what we ate last night, it was because I was testing recipes.
One note, when I first started testing for Richa, I picked out recipes that had ingredients that were easy to find, or that I already had on hand. After a few months, I finally stocked my “Indian pantry” with Richa’s guidance (she explains ingredients at the beginning of the book) and a world of flavor opened up for me.
Dinner Last Night:
Masala Lentils from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. This dish is FANTASTIC! It wasn’t one of the recipes I tested, I just picked it out for dinner last night and it proved AGAIN how good Richa is. This dish is phenomenal, and I’m already looking forward to left-overs for lunch. Lucky for you, she’s allowed me to share the recipe with you (below)!
One other note. As a tester, I had to use the exact measurements in a recipe. I learned that my instincts weren’t always right and to trust Richa. If she says 3/4 teaspoon salt, that’s what it should be. Testers were allowed to lighten up the heat, (below I did 1/2 T sriracha and put the bottle on the table in case Brain wanted more) but otherwise stick to her measurements, she always nails it.
Prep: 20 minutes | Active: 25 minutes | Inactive: 20 minutes | Serves 4
If you want to impress someone with a dal, make it this one. Don’t be afraid of the number of spices—it is quite simple to make. The spices and garlic are blended to a paste and fried in the oil. A hot sauce (chiles, garlic, and vinegar) in the tadka is another secret to getting the right flavor profile. Serve this as a part of a meal, or with rice or naan or other flatbread. (Recipe from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen Copyright © 2015 by Richa Hingle. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press, LLC.)
3/4 cup brown lentils, washed and drained
2 cups water
2 to 3 teaspoons safflower or other neutral oil
1/2 cup finely chopped red or white onion
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves or 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish
1 tablespoon vegan butter (optional)
1. Combine the lentils with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Partially cover and cook over medium heat until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. 2. While the lentils are cooking, make the tempering. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
3. In a blender, combine the garlic, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, fenugreek, paprika, nutmeg, black pepper, sriracha, and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend to combine well. Add this paste to the onions in the skillet. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, and cook until the tomatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Mash the larger tomato pieces.
4. Add the tempering to the lentils. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Garnish with cilantro and vegan butter, if using, and serve hot.
2015 Cost of Camping:
Through Thursday 6/18 – $93
84 night paid camping
82 nights free camping
166 days this year
Total spent: $1497.07
Daily average cost: $9.02