Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 13, 2012

Recipes a taste of southern India


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Eastern Tadka Dal

Dals are the simplest and most nutritious dishes. Notice how dal cooks with turmeric and asafoetida. Both aid in digestion.

Yields 3 ½ to 4 cups, 4 to 6 servings

6 ½ to 7 oz. masoor dal (pink split lentils), 1 c. rinsed and drained

½ t. turmeric

¼ t. ground asafoetida

Tempering (Tadka)

3 to 4 T. ghee, vegetable oil or plain sesame oil

1 T. crushed Ponch Phoran

½ oz. green chili, 1 serrano, stemmed, seeded and finely slivered

½ oz. ginger root, 1 T. peeled and minced

¼ oz. garlic, 1 large clove, 1 ½ t. peeled and finely minced

4 oz. small yellow onions, 1 c. thinly slivered, packed

Juice of 1 large lime, about 4 T.

Optional Garnish: ½ oz. cilantro, ¼ c. finely sliced

For Serving: Hot, cooked rice or chapattis

1. Pour lentils, 4 cups water, turmeric and asafoetida into a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover pan, and simmer lentils until mushy, about 25 minutes. Have extra boiling water on the side to add as necessary. Whisk lentils until smooth. The consistency should be soupy thick.

2. Temper, temper: Heat half the fat in 9-inch skillet over medium heat until hot. Add seeds and chilies. When seeds sputter add ginger and garlic and cook until they release fragrance, 10 to 30 seconds. Scrape tempering into lentils.

3. Heat skillet over medium heat with remaining fat. Stir in onions and fry until they wilt and brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Pour onion tempering into cooked lentils. Deglaze skillet with 2 tablespoons water, stir water into pot and cover. Steep tempering in hot dal 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Reheat over low heat if necessary before serving.

4. To Serve: Season dal to taste with lime juice, salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with cilantro if desired. Serve with rice or chapatti.

Avocado and Tequila Soup (Sopa de Crema de Aguacate)

This is a nueva cocina mexicana recipe. Most recipes for this classic soup call for cream, but this recipe is lighter and easier to prepare. Chill all ingredients except spices for a refreshing hot weather soup.

Yields 5 cups, 4 servings

1 lb. avocados, 2 medium-large

1 c. freshly squeezed orange juice, about two 6- to 7-oz. oranges

2 T. tequila

½ oz. serrano chili, 1 medium, 1 T. stemmed and diced

½ t. ground cumin

¼ oz. cilantro, 4 T. finely sliced

3 c. de-fatted chicken stock

3 to 4 T. fresh lime juice, 1 large lime


Cilantro leaves

Red chili powder

1. Peel, seed and dice avocados. Place into food processor with orange juice, tequila, chili, cumin and cilantro. Purée until smooth.

2. Transfer soup to tureen. Stir in chicken stock and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and more lime juice as necessary. Cover tureen. Refrigerate soup 30 minutes to 2 hours to chill, or serve at room temperature.

3. To Serve: Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with cilantro leaves and a dusting of chili powder. Serve.

Vary! Improvise!

*Vegetarian: Substitute a flavorful vegetable broth for chicken stock.

*Garnish soup with a dollop of crema Mexicana or a swirl of cream.

Source: Jim Peyton's New Cooking From Old Mexico by Jim Peyton