Do you ever feel like you need to do nothing for a while before you can muster up the strength to do anything? Sometimes I need to take relaxing to a whole new level—let the dishes pile up in the kitchen, forget about that recipe concept, and just laze around on my bed with the windows open. A pile of books on one side and Cookie on the other.
That’s what I did this weekend; I chose to stay in rather than go out and read cookbooks instead of cook. My only notable accomplishments included ruffling through all 600 beautiful pages of Nigel Slater’s Tender (Nigel, dear fellow, why so much cream?!), getting my money’s worth out of my Netflix account and baking up some of my famous dark chocolate-dipped macaroons to ship to a friend. It was just what I needed.
On Sunday, I was busy doing a whole lot of nothing and feeling totally unmotivated to cook this week’s Food Matters Project recipe. I blame the title: curried tomato soup with hard boiled eggs. I find hard-boiled eggs to be truly noxious and I wasn’t feeling soup. After reading through Mark Bittman’s write-up and recipe list, I wondered why he called it soup when it sounded more like a stew. Intrigued, I googled “makhani,” the Indian dish it’s based upon, and recognized it as one of the many vegetarian options I’ve enjoyed at Indian buffets (I generally despise buffets but Indian buffets are a major exception).
Through my research, I learned that makhani is often served with black lentils (dal makhani), so I decided to add lentils for substance and give the recipe name a makeover: Tomato and Lentil Curry. While it’s certainly an improvement, I’m not sure any name could represent this bold and spicy, hearty dish in its full glory. Please give this dish a try and get back to me with your naming suggestions.
Other than adding black lentils (also called urad dal or beluga lentils) and some extra coconut milk, I stuck to the recipe, which you can find in full at Eats Well With Others. I just added one cup of rinsed black lentils to the pot once the liquids came to a boil, and extra coconut milk at the end. I served the curry over a bed of brown jasmine rice with a big slice of lime to squeeze on top. It’s definitely my most successful attempt at Indian cooking so far and I dare say it’s almost as good as the authentic dal makhani served at my beloved Indian buffets.
Ingredients of note include an amazing kashmiri curry blend provided by Native Roots Market. Locals, if you haven’t, you really must check out their spice bar! They have custom spice blends for sale and will hand mix any blend your heart desires.
I also used Pomi brand tomatoes because Pomi is the only brand I’ve found that uses BPA-free packaging. Read more about the dangers of BPA in canned tomatoes here.
All in all, this dish is yet another FMP success, and I’m so glad I made it! I’m looking forward to eating leftovers all week long. Find Mark Bittman’s recipe at Eats Well With Others, and check out ingenious variations on it by Food Matters Project members over here!