DDD #77 – Vegan Smoked Dal Makhani – Punjabi-Style – Instant Pot or Not!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

I love Indian food.  I always have.  I also love cooking with dry beans & lentils because they are so inexpensive & yield many servings for pennies per serving.  The only issue with Indian recipes is acquiring the exotic spices – which can be expensive if you do not buy them from an Indian market.  Ethnic markets are always the best place to buy spices because each will typically carry all you need for recipes from that area of the world and at greatly reduced prices.  If you do not live in an area with much diversity – Amazon is wonderful.  You can typically omit a few spices from most recipes with little loss of flavor but it is really satisfying to be as authentically true to a regional recipe as possible.   With Thai food, for example, getting fresh kaffir lime leaves & Thai basil makes an enormous difference.  You just open the packages of these things and are transported to your favorite Thai restaurant.  Indian food has a few staples that are hrd to get around – garam masala, for example.  But it is stuff like cardamom & fenugreek (methi) that add authenticity.  Fenugreek is an herb – pictured below – both fresh & dried.  It also comes in seed form & as a powder and it is ubiquitous in Indian recipes in one form or another.  It might be a good idea to research a few Indian recipes & stock up on the critical spices sif you want to experiment with this wonderful cuisine.  HERE is a list of the most used spices – garam masala being the most commonly used and that list omitted the kasoori (or kasuri) methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and I would add that to your list as well as amchoor (mango powder).

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I made a version of mahkani in July – seen above – my Spicy Vegan Dal Makhani (Beluga or Black Lentils) for the Slow Cooker.   That dish used beluga lentils & is not as authentic as today’s recipe. In today’s recipe I used whole black lentils (also called urad dal or black gram) and red kidney beans (rajma).    I not only soaked these beans overnight but I also cooked them in my slow cooker for 5 hours on high AND left them overnight to let the flavors meld.  I recommend this (though it is not necessary) to let the beans really soften & the flavors blend – so – if you are making this dish it takes two days before you are eating it.  Again, you definitely could eat it after the 5 hours but like many stew-type dishes – it gets better over time.  The good news is – there is no prep cooking for this dish so, except for cutting up an onion & 2 peppers – the slow cooker does all the work (except the smoking process – explained below).  The lentils & beans I used are below – dry – and as they looked after soaking them – separately – overnight.  As you can see – they changed color considerably.   This dish is traditionally very rich using varied amounts of butter & heavy cream.  I used only 2 TBS of vegan butter & 1/2 cup vegan sour cream – so this dish is not quite so heavy.

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As to smoking your dal makhani – it is VERY easy & I recommend it very highly.  It just requires a chunk of a natural charcoal & a small metal bowl.  You simply heat the coal over a burner until it is red hot, place it in a metal bowl & drizzle olive oil on it & place it atop your dal & put the lid on the slow cooker.  In ten minutes – you will have authentically, smoky goodness!  (The photo of the smoking charcoal is from my Smoked & Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry (Vegan – Vegetarian) – seen below.)

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Vegan Smoked Dal Makhani Punjabi-Style (Black Gram/Urad Dal & Rajma) – 

Serves 6+ with rice

INGREDIENTS

 1 cup dry black urad dal – soaked overnight

1/2 cup dry red kidney beans – soaked overnight

1 onion – diced

2 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers – seeded & diced

2 TBS vegan butter (or coconut or olive oil)

4 cups water (or vegetable stock)

1 cup tomato puree

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 TBS garam masala

1/2 tsp amchoor

2 TBS dry methi leaves

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp chili powder

3 green cardamom pods

1 TBS fresh or jarred ginger (I used jarred)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1/2 cup vegan sour cream

Steamed rice

GARNISH – more sour cream, cilantro or fresh fenugreek leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Soak the beans overnight.   Drain & rinse.

INSTANT POT

Heat the oil or butter using the saute setting – saute the onion & peppers until soft.  Put everything else in & cook, sealed, on manual for 35 minutes.

SLOWCOOKER

Put everything except the sour cream into a slow cooker & cook on high for at least 5 hours – maybe more.  If you are going for the overnight uber-cooking (as I did) – leave it covered overnight.  I left my cooker off as there was nothing in there that would spoil but – if you are not comfortable with that – add some water & leave it on warm overnight.

STOVE TOP

Heat the oil or butter and saute the onion & peppers in a large stock pot until soft.  Put everything else in & bring to a boil.  Reduce heat & simmer until the beans are tender – 30 minutes or so.

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Either way – the next step is the smoking (which you can skip but I recommend trying it because it is amazing.  Heat the coal over a burner until it is red hot, place it in a metal bowl & drizzle olive oil on it & place it atop your dal & put the lid on the slow cooker or Instant Pot or pan.  In ten minutes – you will have authentically, smoky goodness!

Now – stir in the sour cream.   If it is too thin – add water or vegan milk to thin it.  If it is too thin – cook it on high with the lid off until it thickens.  Mashing some of the dal with a wooden spoon or pureeing with an immersion blender gives an even creamier result.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream & serve with rice.

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DDD #70 – Vegan Gobi Musallam or Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Curry Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

This dish makes an incredible centerpiece for your vegan holiday table but is good as a side, too.  I ate the entire thing alone in two days.  So yummy!  I overcooked my cauliflower in the boiling water just a bit so it did not hold its shape perfectly.  So – be sure to only cook your cauliflower the 8 minutes & then drain it under cold running water.

Even if this guy falls apart when you cut into it, the flavor is not impacted.  It is really delicious.

Gobi Musallam or Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Curry Sauce

INGREDIENTS
1 Head cauliflower (leaves and tough stem removed)
Water to blanch
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder optional
curry sauce
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 medium red onion – chopped
1 TBS minced ginger
1 TBS minced garlic
1 TBS crushed red pepper chili flakes (or to taste)
3 medium tomatoes – quartered
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 pinch dried Fenugreek powder (or 1 TBS kasuri methi) – optional
1 15 oz can coconut milk
1/4 cup vegan yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup (or 1/4 teaspoon sugar)
Garnish – cilantro, pomegranate seeds, cooked rice or naan
INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Use enough water so all of the cauliflower can be immersed in it.  Add salt, turmeric and chili and cook the whole cauliflower by immersing it in the water – bottom side down.  Cover and cook for 8 minutes.  Drain & rinse under cold running water to stop its cooking.
In a pan, add oil and heat over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute until golden, 6-7 minutes.  Add ginger, garlic chili and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add the spices and mix.  Add tomatoes, salt, sugar, fenugreek (if using), mix and cook covered until tender.   Add coconut milk.  Heat a bit.  Puree in a blender.  Taste and adjust salt, spice.
Oil a baking dish  – either a cast iron pan or casserole dish that can accommodate the head of cauliflower.  Place the blanched cauliflower in a baking dish.  Reserve about 1/3 of the sauce & set it aside.  Slowly pour the remaining sauce the puree on top to cover the entire head of the cauliflower. Some sauce will fall pool around the bottom of the cauliflower.
Bake for 40-45 minutes till the cauliflower is dry to touch and sauce thickens a bit. Turn the dish around after 30 minutes.
Heat the remaining sauce to just about a boil so it thickens and serve on the side.
Garnish with warmed reserved sauce & fresh cilantro and maybe even some pomegranate seeds – if you are feeling festive.   Serve as a side or with rice or naan.

Vegan Creamy Dal Makhani Punjabi-Style (Black Gram/Urad Dal & Rajma) – for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

1-14-15 (60)

1-14-15 (63)

BathingandthesinglegirlCover

vromans back

1-14-15 (79)

1-14-15 (72)

I love Indian food.  I always have.  I also love cooking with dry beans & lentils because they are so inexpensive & yield many servings for pennies per serving.  The only issue with Indian recipes is acquiring the exotic spices – which can be expensive if you do not buy them from an Indian market.  Ethnic markets are always the best place to buy spices because each will typically carry all you need for recipes from that area of the world and at greatly reduced prices.  If you do not live in an area with much diversity – Amazon is wonderful.  You can typically omit a few spices from most recipes with little loss of flavor but it is really satisfying to be as authentically true to a regional recipe as possible.   With Thai food, for example, getting fresh kaffir lime leaves & Thai basil makes an enormous difference.  You just open the packages of these things and are transported to your favorite Thai restaurant.  Indian food has a few staples that are hrd to get around – garam masala, for example.  But it is stuff like cardamom & fenugreek (methi) that add authenticity.  Fenugreek is an herb – pictured below – both fresh & dried.  It also comes in seed form & as a powder and it is ubiquitous in Indian recipes in one form or another.  It might be a good idea to research a few Indian recipes & stock up on the critical spices sif you want to experiment with this wonderful cuisine.  HERE is a list of the most used spices – garam masala being the most commonly used and that list omitted the kasoori (or kasuri) methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and I would add that to your list as well as amchoor (mango powder).

1-14-15 (26)

7-8-15-44

I made a version of mahkani in July – seen above – my Spicy Vegan Dal Makhani (Beluga or Black Lentils) for the Slow Cooker.   That dish used beluga lentils & is not as authentic as today’s recipe. In today’s recipe I used whole black lentils (also called urad dal or black gram) and red kidney beans (rajma).    I not only soaked these beans overnight but I also cooked them in my slow cooker for 5 hours on high AND left them overnight to let the flavors meld.  I recommend this (though it is not necessary) to let the beans really soften & the flavors blend – so – if you are making this dish it takes two days before you are eating it.  Again, you definitely could eat it after the 5 hours but like many stew-type dishes – it gets better over time.  The good news is – there is no prep cooking for this dish so, except for cutting up an onion & 2 peppers – the slow cooker does all the work (except the smoking process – explained below).  The lentils & beans I used are below – dry – and as they looked after soaking them – separately – overnight.  As you can see – they changed color considerably.   This dish is traditionally very rich using varied amounts of butter & heavy cream.  I used only 2 TBS of vegan butter & 1/2 cup vegan sour cream – so this dish is not quite so heavy.

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As to smoking your dal makhani – it is VERY easy & I recommend it very highly.  It just requires a chunk of a natural charcoal & a small metal bowl.  You simply heat the coal over a burner until it is red hot, place it in a metal bowl & drizzle olive oil on it & place it atop your dal & put the lid on the slow cooker.  In ten minutes – you will have authentically, smoky goodness!  (The photo of the smoking charcoal is from my Smoked & Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry (Vegan – Vegetarian) – seen below.)

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Vegan Creamy Dal Makhani Punjabi-Style (Black Gram/Urad Dal & Rajma) – for the Slow Cooker

Serves 6+ with rice

INGREDIENTS

 1 cup dry black urad dal – soaked overnight

1/2 cup dry red kidney beans – soaked overnight

1 onion – diced

2 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers – seeded & diced

2 TBS vegan butter

4 cups water (or vegetable stock)

1 cup tomato puree

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 TBS garam masala

1/2 tsp amchoor

2 TBS dry methi leaves

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp chili powder

2 green cardamom pods

1 TBS fresh or jarred ginger (I used jarred)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1/2 cup vegan sour cream

Steamed rice

GARNISH – more sour cream, cilantro or fresh fenugreek leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Soak the beans overnight.

Put everything except the sour cream into a slow cooker & cook on high for at least 5 hours – maybe more.  If you are going for the overnight uber-cooking (as I did) – leave it covered overnight.  I left my cooker off as there was nothing in there that would spoil but – if you are not comfortable with that – add some water & leave it on warm overnight.

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Either way – the next step is the smoking (which you can skip but I recommend trying it because it is amazing.  Heat the coal over a burner until it is red hot, place it in a metal bowl & drizzle olive oil on it & place it atop your dal & put the lid on the slow cooker.  In ten minutes – you will have authentically, smoky goodness!

Now – stir in the sour cream.   If it is too thin – add water or vegan milk to thin it.  If it is too thin – cook it on high with the lid off until it thickens.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream & serve with rice.

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Spicy Vegan Dal Makhani (Beluga or Black Lentils) for the Slow Cooker

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To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

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Inspired by these gorgeous photos & the recipe HERE from Petit World Citizen – I created this adaptation of that recipe.

My understanding is that Dal Makhani translates to “buttery lentils” – but this dish used no butter.  You can opt to use vegan butter (or real butter – if you are not vegan) in place of the olive oil – and you will be making this in the more traditional way.  I also understand that it typicaally includes red beans but this version does not.  I used Beluga or black lentils that I bought HERE on Amazon.  The original recipe called for 5-6 cups of water to one cup of lentils and I doubled the recipe.  After a full day of cooking in the slow cooker, it was still a very thin soup – so – I added the rest of the black lentils – the full 2lbs.  As a result – I have a fuckton of Dal Makhani – enough to fill THIS 6 QT Crock-Pot to the brim.  But – it is healthy & light & freezes well & I’m OK eating the same thing for lunch every day for a week – so I will deal.  You might want to consider cutting the recipe at least in half.

Also – I radically increased the spices of the original recipe & it came out fiery hot.  I added sugar & some potato slices to modify that & it worked wonders.

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Spicy Vegan Dal Makhani (Beluga or Black Lentils) for the Slow Cooker

Make 3-6 quarts (your call) – enough to feed 8-20 – especially if served with rice.

You can cut this recipe in half – by simply reducing the lentils & water by half but keep the other ingredients complete as listed here.  I made it as listed below but with half the lentils but it was too watery.  I then doubled the lentil portion without adding anything else.  So – you have two options below.

INGREDIENTS

for 3 quarts use:

1 lb (2 cups) black beluga lentils, sorted and rinsed
6 cups water – plus more if necessary

OR

for 6 quarts use:

2 lbs (4 cups) black beluga lentils, sorted and rinsed
12 cups water – plus more if necessary

Either way – the rest of the ingredients remain the SAME:

26 oz tomato purée/sauce
4 teaspoons salt
1 TBS sweet paprika or chili powder (I used chili powder)
2 TBS ground garam masala
1 TBS ground turmeric
1 tsp (or more, to taste) cayenne pepper or 2 finely chopped green jalapeño pepper (I used BOTH)
dash of ground cinnamon
1-4 TBS olive oil, vegetable oil or butter (I used 1 TBS olive oil)
4 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds (toasted in a dry pan for a few minutes until brown & fragrant – and ground up with a mortar & pestle – the grinding part being optional)
2 TBS ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4-6 green onions, sliced thinly, plus more for garnish
1 (15 oz) can coconut milk for a vegan version (I used lite)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish)

Up to 1 TBS sugar – optional addition for if your dal comes out too spicy

1 large potato – peeled & diced – optional addition for if your dal comes out too spicy

Avocado slices or lime wedges – for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Place rinsed lentils into a 6-quart Crock-Pot with water.  Add tomato sauce, salt, paprika or chili powder, garam masala, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon.

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan a few minutes until just beginning to brown & they become fragrant.  Be careful not to burn them.  Grind them in a mortar & pestle (grinding not strictly necessary).  Then, in small saucepan, heat oil on medium high heat, add toasted cumin seeds and ginger.  Sauté for 3-5 minutes and then add garlic & green onions and sauté for a few more minutes. Add the sautéed mixture to the crockpot and give everything a good mixing up to incorporate things.

Set the timer for 6 hours on HIGH.   If you are home while it cooks – stir it once in a while for a creamier texture.

After the cooking time is done, the dal should be very soft. Add the coconut milk & stir it in.   Taste, adjust seasoning.  If it is too spicy – add the sugar & potato.  Continue cooking for 15 or so minutes or until the potato is soft.  If the dal is too thick, add some hot water until preferred consistency is achieved.  If it’s too thin, uncover and cook longer until it thickens.

When done, mix in chopped cilantro. Top with avocados, if using, and garnish with cilantro and green onions or lime wedges. Serve hot with rice, roti or naan.

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