Masoor Dal

It’s been years since I’ve posted any recipes on this website, but I improvised some dal last night that turned out really well, and I was very pleased with myself and wanted to document the occasion. Behold:

Masoor Dal (Red Lentils)

1 T peanut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 T garam masala
pinch cayenne
1 c diced onion
2 c dry masoor dal (red or pink lentils)
6 cups vegetable stock
14oz. canned diced tomatoes
salt to taste (depending on how salty your stock is)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, diced

Heat the peanut oil in a medium pot. Throw in the mustard and cumin seeds and cover; the mustard seeds will “pop” almost immediately. After about 10 seconds add the onions and stir to coat with the oil and spices. Cook on medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes, until translucent. Add tomatoes, ginger, garam masala, and cayenne and stir; cook for a minute, then add lentils and stock. Cover and simmer on low for 30-40 minutes, until lentils are well cooked and the flavor of the masala has been absorbed. Add salt at this point if necessary; a lot of pre-made stocks or bouillon will make the dal salty enough on its own. If desired, use an immersion blender to make it even creamier. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.

TGRWT #14: Malt + Soy Sauce

I’ve been eyeing the plethora of blogging “food challenges” out there for some time, trying to figure out where to start. I really love the concept, and complete and utter nerdiness, of this one: “They Go Really Well Together” (TGRWT), which looks like it got started here. The idea is simple: some flavor combinations just taste awesome. Sure, we all know that chocolate and coffee taste great together — but have you ever tried combining bananas and mushrooms? The FoodPairing website has put together “food trees” showing some of these more unusual pairings. Apparently there’s some “science” behind the decision to pair blueberries with tomato paste and apricots with blue cheese, based on shared flavor characteristics. Or something.

Anyway, the food combo of the month for TGRWT was actually pretty tame: malt and soy sauce. I thought about the flavors for a bit before deciding where to go with the combination, but didn’t get much further than, “Well, barley malt tastes sort of sweet, and soy sauce is, uh, salty…hmm.” So I just mixed them together to see what it would taste like. The resulting sauce was really intense, thick and somewhat pungent. I’d forgotten just how rich barley malt tastes, and with the added soy sauce, I worried that this flavor combination would overpower any dish I put this sauce into. Throwing caution to the wind, because I’m crazy like that, I decided to just go with the richness, and added red wine to the sauce. Originally I was going to make some sort of braised tempeh dish, but the barley malt was so thick (and strong-tasting) that a reduced glaze worked a lot better — and even that was pushing it. Seriously potent stuff.

What with the tempeh and soy sauce and wine and all, I decided to add sauerkraut as a garnish to round out the fermentation theme. It turned out to be a perfect accompaniment!

Fermentation: A Celebration
(AKA Wine-Glazed Tempeh with Sauerkraut)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup barley malt
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
a pinch of red pepper flakes
8 oz. tempeh, cut into 12 slices
1-2 cups sauerkraut (as desired)

Mix together the wine, barley malt, soy sauce, garlic, and red pepper, and set aside. Saute the onion in the olive oil over low heat for about 10 minutes, until light brown. (A deep, cast-iron skillet works best for this recipe.) Add the tempeh slices and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side. Pour in the sauce and gently stir, making sure the tempeh is completely coated. Simmer on low or medium low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a sticky glaze. Serve with sauerkraut.

TIP: The bottom of your cast iron pan will be covered with thick malted grossness after you’re done. When you’re ready to clean it, heat it up again and pour in some lemon juice. Let the lemon juice simmer, and use a spatula to spread it around. You’ll very quickly be able to scrape everything off the bottom of the pan. Then just wash as usual.

Glazed tempeh with greens, sauerkraut, and wild rice.

Glazed tempeh with greens, sauerkraut, and wild rice.

Vegan Pulled Pork

Vegan Pulled Pork

I had this at a Memorial Day BBQ in Pittsburgh, PA. It’s soy-free, wheat-free, cheap, and oh-so-tasty. I mentioned it to a friend and she pointed me to this blog post by Sara of Vegangelical.

I recommend reading her post, but here it is in three easy steps.

  1. Make BBQ sauce.
  2. Saute two cans of young green jackfruit for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Simmer the jackfruit in the BBQ sauce for 1.5 to 2 hours. That’s it.

This recipe is so easy, though it does take a while to make the BBQ sauce. You’ll need to get the jackfruit in brine or water, NOT in syrup. I got mine from an Asian grocery for .79 a can.

I don’t have a set recipe for BBQ sauce, but here’s the basics:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 32oz cans of tomatoes (diced or crushed works best)
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon each garlic, chilli, and cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (hickory seasoning)
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • approximately 1 cup turbinado sugar, agave syrup, or maple syrup

Saute onions. I sometimes use a little bit of rum or Irish whisky to add depth to the overall flavor. Throw in the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for two to three hours, stirring occasionally, and add spices or other ingredients to taste. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

(Recipe by Erin)

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. flour (I used whole wheat; white or barley would probably substitute)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tablespoon Ener-G egg replacer (dry)
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, then combine and stir until just mixed. Pour into a 10-inch bundt pan and bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until the cake springs back lightly to the touch and the edges are lightly browned. Let cool in the pan, then transfer to serving platter. You can dust this with powdered sugar or make a glaze: I mixed melted Earth Balance with some maple extract, a tablespoon of rice milk, and enough powdered sugar to make a thick, wet frosting.