I have finally found my tastiest lentil stew. Also the most versatile. Also adaptable to any cuisine. Also really quick to make, and totally slurp-worthy. Vegan to boot. As usual, such great discoveries happen by serendipity. For long, I had been drooling over the hearty bean chillis that many folks make. For long I’ve been toying with the idea of a chilli with an Indian flavour. For long, I’ve been dreaming of making a meal of a hearty soup-ish stew. For long, ....OK, I’ll stop now.
I had some leftovers to be used up. In a crazy moment of devil-may-care, I just poured some things into a pot and seasoned them with fragrant fried onion, a couple of green chillies to notch up the heat, and finished off with some aromatic chopped coriander.
You could make the same stew at least three ways. Use a seasoning of oregano, cumin powder, chipotle peppers, flat leaf parsley, and topped with Greek yoghurt. Or dress with Sriracha, chopped spring onions, and drizzle some sesame oil on top. Or you could go the Indian Garam Masala route seasoning with fennel seeds, a couple of green chillies if you like, top with fried onions, chopped coriander and if in a indulgent mood, some fresh cream or butter as well. Did I not tell you this is the most versatile?
These are the ingredients I used. You could change the ingredients if you wish, but the flavours and textures will differ accordingly.
- Does NOT contain gluten, soya, peanuts, other nuts, corn, yeast, egg or dairy.
- Suitable for gluten and lactose intolerant people.
- Also suitable for people with nut allergy.
Preparation Time – 20 minutes, Cooking Time – 30 minutes, Serves – 4 – 6 depending on whether it is your main meal or as an entree.
Cookware – 2-3 litre capacity Pressure cooker, mixer grinder, knife, cutting board, Small fry pan
- 1/2 cup Tuvar Dal
- 1/4 cup Chana Dal
- 1/4 cup Pearl Barley
- 2 heaped cups of chopped Lauki / Bottle Gourd
- 3 ripe large tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped carrot
- 2 cloves peeled garlic
- 1/2 inch piece ginger
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp Cooking Oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped Onion
- 3 green chillies (optional)
- 1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
- Rinse, peel bottle gourd, and chop into 1 cm squares. Rinse, peel and chop carrot similarly. Peel the ginger, garlic. Leave them whole.
- Place the Dals and the pearl barley inside your pressure cooker directly or in a vessel that fits inside the cooker. Rinse the dals once,drain the water, then add the chopped vegetables, peeled ginger and garlic, and the tomatoes. Top with water to cover the contents, (approx double volume of water) and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Set aside for pressure to release on its own.
- Once you open the pressure cooker, remove the vegetables from the top to a mixer jar, leaving the pulses inside. Discard only the ginger piece. Whizz the rest in a mixer grinder to a coarse-ish paste. Return the paste to the dals+barley.
- Add salt, and simmer over a very low flame for 10 minutes until the stew is thick, flavours blended well.
- In a separate small fry pan, add the oil, heat it up, add the mustard, cumin, let crackle, add chopped onions, green chillies if using. Sauté the onions until they are light brown, or for longer if you wish. Pour over the simmering stew, stir the seasonings in and cover immediately. Let the stew rest for half an hour to allow for flavours to mingle.
Serve warm just by itself, or with a corn muffin or with a salad with herb dressing. Else, you could also top it with some fried chips, add a dollop of Greek yoghurt, and enjoy.
Or serve the Indian way. Pour some stew into a bowl, drizzle with some green chutney and sweet chutney, top with finely chopped onions, scatter some fine ‘sev’ over and serve.
Whichever way you choose to indulge, this dish is extremely tasty, incorporates several grains, has loads of vegetables, makes a meal by itself or is a worthy accompaniment to any meal.