It was the third cold, dark and rainy day in a row. The kind that leaves you with a slight case of the blues. But nothing that a pot of soul-satisfying Daal wouldn’t remedy. I’d had a hankering for my lentil curry anyway and got to work making it.
While the lentils were boiling away merrily, I peeked into the fridge to see what vegetables I could add. There were none but there was a big bunch of curly kale that I needed to use soon. Now, around here, we LOVE kale but I usually prepare it by itself and enjoy it with slices of fresh avocado. While there are plenty of leafy green vegetables in India, there is no kale. So it was a serendipitous idea to sauté the kale with the spices in the Daal Recipe kit and add it to the lentil curry. Or maybe it was just a matter of time. I’m sure others have discovered this already, but here’s my version. This recipe is a slight variation of the one included in the Daal kit.
I like curly kale best but any variety of kale will do. Lacinato kale (aka Dino or Cavalo Nero) is pictured.
Ingredients (serves 4)½ bunch of kale (rinsed, stem ends cut and discarded, leaves cut lengthwise in the middle and then chopped into 1 inch pieces) 1 Delicious Daal kit OR 1 cup toor daal or split pigeon peas 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 5 curry leaves ½ teaspoon turmeric powder 1.5 cups basmati rice (cooking instructions not included in this post) 1 small tomato (diced) 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon salt or to taste ½ lime (or lemon)
Place lentils in a thick bottomed pot and add 5 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat
Turn heat down to medium-low, cover pot with lid ajar and simmer for 35 minutes or till the lentils are fully cooked (flat and mushy)
Heat the oil in a big pot or wok over medium high heat. You know the oil is hot enough when you throw in a mustard seed and it sizzles. Don’t get the oil too hot as it will burn the spices.
Add the mustard seeds and wait a few seconds or till they just start crackling.
Add the cumin seeds, curry leaves and turmeric.
Add the kale after 2-3 seconds and stir to coat well with oil. Saute for 3-4 minutes or till the leaves have wilted slightly and are half the original volume.
Add ½ a cup of water, reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot with a lid ajar. Cook for 3 minutes and then remove from heat.
Once the lentils have boiled, add the kale to the pot of lentils along with 1 teaspoon salt and the tomato. Mix.
Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 8 minutes or till the kale stems are cooked and the leaves are not tough (I do like a bit of crunch though)
Taste for salt and squeeze in juice of ½ a lime (more if you like). Serve over rice.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath before diving in spoon first into your hearty Daal. And feel the blues slipping away. Mmmmm.
p.s. What to do with the leftover kale? Simply saute in olive oil with a couple cloves of garlic. Add a cup of stock (or water and salt), bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid ajar and cook for 7 minutes or till the kale is cooked but still slightly crunchy.
Or make kale chips. Toss with olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and a big pinch of sea salt. Roast in oven preheated to 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.