Up until the past year the question 'what shall we eat tonight' was a common and strangely irritating one in our household.
Trying to decide what to cook after a long day at work became unnecessarily stressful and often quite volatile. That being said, the stress was largely due to me becoming a real dragon when I am hungry.
That was until my partner Nic suggested planning a menu each week. At first I was quite opposed to the idea, believing that it would make our lives dull and regimented. Not so! In fact, it has had the opposite effect.
Gone are the days of scrambling to rustle up something for dinner and we actually we eat better than ever.
Each Sunday we write the menu and prepare the shopping list. The menu only covers Sunday through to Thursday which allows us a bit more creativity on the weekends. Of course the menu is not always adhered to, if we go out for dinner, but it at least gives us a guide.
One of the dishes on the menu last week was Masoor Daal and Basmati Rice. Masoor Daal,otherwise known as Red Daal, makes me happy. It is so easy to cook and it makes my mouth water. Red Daal doesn't require soaking so it makes an excellent quick and healthy meal.
Masoor Daal & Basmati Rice Recipe
1 cup Masoor daal
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Tumeric
1.5 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large brown onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cm piece ginger, minced
1 small red chili, finely chopped
2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cup coriander, chopped
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups of basmati rice
3 cups of water
- Cook the rice in a rice steamer. If you're cooking it on the stove top, place the rice in a medium pot with 3 cups of water. Bring it to the boil, stirring occasionally and then recuse the heat to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes or until done. Set aside.
- Rinse the daal thoroughly, until the water runs clear. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a pot. Add the daal and reduce the heat to medium.
- Cook the daal for about 10 to 15 minutes, add 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and the salt. As the dhal cooks, water will evaporate and mixture will thicken.
- Make sure you add more water to keep daal loose, like texture of thick cream. When the daal is soft, turn off heat.
- Heat the oil in a pot. When oil is very hot, add onions and cook until tender and translucent.
- Add garlic, ginger and chiles. Continue to fry until onions are deep-yellow. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoons each of garam masala and turmeric.
- Do not allow spices to burn. Keep stirring until mixture starts to stick. Add tomatoes and cilantro. Cook until tomato softens.
- Pour this mixture into the pot of Masoor daal and simmer to blend the flavors. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with basmati rice.