ETW: Bangladesh Completed!

Poor Ada. 
As I said before, we’re struggling with pestilence. 
(But on a good note, today was a puke-free day!)

 Moses as the ever-present, ever-helpful (?) companion.

 This one is a bit whiny too. Can you believe I managed to create the most delicious, crave-worthy Bengali dish with this miniature Tonya Harding at my feet?

The next few pics are of the whole cooking process. I made a Bengali style dahl to celebrate Bangladesh and I think it’s definitely going to be in regular rotation from now on. This picture is of the chili, ginger, salt, water, and garlic paste that I pureed in my Magic Bullet.

 Quartered lemons to add some acidity to the watery dahl.
 A few of the other players: Red lentils, dry-roasted in a pan, homemade chicken stock, ginger, and a mess ‘o spices.

 I sliced up an onion and fried them in cinnamon, cardamom, clove-infused oil until they just started to go limp and golden.

 The next two pictures are of the lentils and spices added into the pan and they also show the stark difference between my crappy flash and natural lighting. I tend to lean towards natural lighting, even if it looks darker simply because I think the pics with flash make the whole thing look fake or gross. As you can see, this is with flash:

 And this is without: 
(Notice the whitish blurry spots? That’s the steam fogging up my lens.)

 This looked completely unappetizing and I wondered if I added in too much chicken stock, but I persevered.

 Dylan got home and settled the crabby twins into their chairs at the table for some pre-dinner popsicles. Nellie has started to love the camera and now immediately gives this “cheese” smile as soon as a lens is pointed at her.
What a goon. 🙂

 Now back to dinner, here the liquid is finally starting to simmer down and soak into the lentils.

 Ada decided to join me in the kitchen. Daddy also came bearing a new batch of library books and movie rentals.

 Hahahaha…okay, last one of that face. It’s just so darn cute.
 Just about done…

 Prepped my serving bowls with hard boiled eggs split in halves and warmed to room temperature.

 Next I “cooked” the Chapati bread. I cheated this time around and bought some pre-made, frozen disks from the corner FM International Food Market (I can’t believe I can actually say that…especially in Grand Forks!). Super easy and quick, I’m definitely going to keep a package of these in my freezer from now on.

 You just heat up the pan nice and hot (I used a cast iron) and then cook each bread 1-2 minutes on one side and then about a minute more on the other. Just enough so it puffs gently and is dry with a few golden/charred spots.

 Dump the lentils over the eggs.
 Chop up some yummy cilantro for garnish.

 And then remember that you completely spaced out adding the spinach to the lentils, scoop as many of the lentils as you can back into the pan and add spinach, cover, and allow it to wilt prior to serving.

 Scoop the lentils back into your serving bowls over the hard boiled eggs.

 Marvel at the amazingness that you’ve just created from scratch.

 Yum.

 In fact, I just ate the leftover for dinner and I’m already wanting more…

 And okay, okay. I lied, I just can’t help myself.  
 Empty bowls = Full Soul
Bengali Dahl 
serves 4
Ingredients:
1 c. red lentils (toasted first in a dry pan, stir with fingers & when too hot to touch, it’s done)
1 unwaxed lemon, quartered
1 onion, sliced
2 cardamom pods
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick (I used about 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon)
3 cloves garlic
3 fresh green chilies (I used Serrano)
2 inch. Fresh ginger
1 tsp. ground turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Pinch to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (I used a little over a quarter and it was good for Dylan and I, but definitely not something we’d probably feed the girls.)
½ t. salt
1 t. sugar
1 ½ pints of water, chicken or veg. stock + more for cooking the dahl
12-16 oz. fresh spinach
Optional: Hard boiled eggs, chopped cilantro, strained yogurt
Directions:
1.) Make paste by blending ginger, garlic, fresh chili with a little salt and water.
2.) Put 2 T. oil into hot pan, heat and add cardamom, cloves & cinnamon stick. Cook 1 min. on low til they release their flavor, I added ground cinnamon instead of a cinnamon stick about 30 seconds after the cardamom and cloves.
3.) Add the onion and cook on low til it begins to soften and turn golden. Add ginger, chili and garlic paste and cook 2-4 min. until it loses its rawness.
4.) Add ground spices, sugar and salt; mix well with onions and cook 4 min. until spices lose their rawness. If mixture begins to stick, add a little water.
5.) Add lentils and mix well. Add 1 ½ pints water and the lemons and simmer 30 min. until lentils have broken down. Add more water if it sticks. Some lentils may take a little longer.
6.) Add spinach, cover and allow to wilt into the lentils. (Hahahaha…oops…guess I got a little anxious to eat.)
7.) Serve dahl over hard boiled egg and garnished with cilantro and yogurt (to cool the heat), and a stack of warm Chapati for cleaning the bowl. If you’re feeling adventurous, try eating it with your hands, using your right hand’s index, forefinger, and thumb to scoop the dahl and egg up with chapati. Deliciously messy!
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