Two Ways — Oh She Glows


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I know, I know, just what you’re craving in the middle of summer…a dish that brings the heat! Did I nail it on the head or what? Well, maybe you can entertain this as an idea for a rainy, cool-ish summer evening. We enjoyed it on a night like that just recently! We’ve had a lot of rain and clouds around these parts.

I’ve been trying to come up with the fastest of fast dinner recipes, since cooking with two kids underfoot is getting more and more challenging. If it takes me more than 10 minutes of prep during the witching hour, it’s usually not happening. (I don’t know, maybe I should try batch cooking and freezing meals on the weekends, but I haven’t yet come up with a plan for that.) Admittedly, I’ve also been feeling a bit defeated in the cooking department because Adriana is going through an “I’m not hungry” phase (after going through a really good eating phase in the spring that, in retrospect, could’ve been a growth spurt!). Most of the things we offer her get a few nibbles taken out of them. Or she just exclaims, “POPSICLE, PLEASE!” *facepalm* So, my mood lately has been basically PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME COOK ANOTHER REJECTED MEAL. The silver lining is that Arlo will eat anything that isn’t nailed down (for now!), as will Eric (lol), so my cooking confidence isn’t totally shattered. I’m like, “SEE, NORMAL PEOPLE LOVE MY FOOD!” (I may be losing it.)

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One day I just started throwing things into a pot and didn’t actually expect this recipe to be a winner, but it turned out to be really tasty, especially after a couple more trials. I love that it’s extremely fast to prep. My goal was 10 minutes prep, and I usually clock in at around 7 or 8 minutes (when I have my cooking game face on!). I also wanted the dish to rely on pantry ingredients, such as dried spices rather than fresh aromatics. Don’t get me wrong, fresh garlic, onion, ginger, chillis, etc. are typically my first choice, but they aren’t always practical for those rushed nights. Another benefit of this recipe is that you can use whatever veggies you have on hand, so it can work for all the seasons. I, Eric, and Arlo are really enjoying it…and I’ve even convinced Adriana to eat a bit (it was a sweet potato version, and I ended up mashing her sweet potatoes into the dal and stirring in the rice).

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Yield
4 (with accompaniments)
Prep Time
Cook time

Ingredients:

For the dal:
  • 1 heaping tablespoon (20 mL) virgin coconut oil
  • 4 cups peeled (if necessary) and diced veggies*
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) uncooked red lentils
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) water, plus more if needed
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can light coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) minced onion**
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) good curry powder, or to taste***
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Serving suggestions:
  • Cooked basmati rice or grain of choice
  • Fresh chopped cilantro leaves
  • Fresh lime juice

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over low-medium heat.
  2. Peel (if necessary) and dice the veggies into 1/2-inch pieces. Add them into the pot and stir until combined. Increase heat to medium.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients (lentils, water, diced tomatoes [with juices], coconut milk, all the spices, salt, and pepper). Stir until combined.
  4. Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 18 to 30 minutes, until the veggies and lentils are tender; the cook time will depend on the types of veggies you use, and their size. Stir the dal frequently while cooking, and reduce the heat if necessary to prevent it from sticking to the pot. (If you’re using potatoes, I suggest covering the pot while cooking since they don’t contain as much water to “cook off”. You may need to add more water to thin the mixture.)
  5. If desired, serve over rice, and garnish with cilantro and lime (it’s still great without these additions, though!).

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