Watery Dahl with Peas and Homemade Roti

Recently, Shiva was nice enough to invite me out to lunch and tea. While we were having tea he took a pan from the top of his stove and said; ” Try this!”  Into my mouth went a spiced pea dish that elevated the always good, but not necessarily anything to write home about, pea into a star. In all sincerity, this was by far the best pea dish I had ever had. After I concluded the cooking interrogation I went home and made this:

Peas, Watery Dahl and Roti

I might be a wee bit competitive. Let’s start with the Dahl, which takes the longest to make, about 15-20 minutes. For those of you concerned with protein, especially in vegan meal, here, it comes from the Dahl. There are several different kinds of Dahl, for watery Dahl, Shiva taught me to make it with Mung Bean Dahl, which in its package looks like this:

You cook Dahl very much like rice. Only in this case it is a 1:5 ratio. meaning 1 cup Dahl to 5 cups water. Once rinsed, put the Dahl and water in a pan and add 1 teaspoon turmeric and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until done, 15-20 minutes. You want some water not to have absorbed for easy eating, and in fact Shiva told me that the water from this dish is often fed to sick people.

When the Dahl is done, turn off the heat and in a small saucepan heat 2 tablespoons neutral nut oil and roast 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds and an additional 1 teaspoon turmeric. When the cumin seeds begin to pop, pour all of it into the Dahl, stir and salt to taste.

Now for the Roti’s. This is the flour that I used, and what you are looking for is a very finely ground wheat flour. This flour though a little gravelly has a texture not that far from a cornstarch.

The roti dough is literally just this flour with water. For 4 rotis I used:

1 and 1/2 cups flour and about 1/2-3/4 cup water.

You want the dough to be moist, but not too sticky because you are going to form balls and roll them out into thin pancakes that you then cook in a very hot dry pan for about 90 seconds on each side. Feel free to roll the balls in flour as necessary so they don’t stick to the rolling pin or rolling surface.

Because my fabulous photographer Kristin Booker from fashionstylebeauty.com wasn’t around, I didn’t get pictures of me actually cooking them. But I did get this one!

Once the rotis are done, it’s pea time.

Spiced Peas with Onions

Serves 2

1/2 pound frozen peas

1/2 large yellow onion diced

1 handful cilantro, washed and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons neutral nut oil

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium high heat until quite warm. Add the turmeric, cumin and coriander roasting them until fragrant but not burned. Add diced onion and cook the onion just until the oils start to release. Add peas and stir.

You want to cook them just until the peas are heated through, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the pan. When almost done add the cilantro, stir in and serve.

Voila, one vegan Indian meal in about 30 minutes.

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