Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dinner w/ Friends

Last night I made dinner for two friends who've recently moved into our neighborhood.  It's been my resolution even before New Year's Eve that I would host more dinners with friends.  It sounds easy enough...invite people over and cook them good food.  But where it gets tricky is cleaning of the house space and coordinating calendars can be complicated as well at least in our house.

I like a clean house but I'm not great at keeping it up because, well, I like to read more.  And watch Gilmore Girls with Groovy Girl more.  And play Ruzzle or WWF on my Kindle more.  But all that aside it is a goal for the new year to entertain more, cleaning is optional.

I actually found this recipe when I sampled Jamie Oliver's app on my phone.  I haven't paid to get the app and I'm not actually sure I will (anyone else have it and like it?)   This recipe caught my attention easily and then I thought of this couple, Kathleen and Evan, and knew they would like this dish as well.
{Jaime Oliver's; mine looked quite similar though}

Tarka Daal

(Tarka Daal is lentil heaven-garlicky with a little bit of a kick, eat it with your favorite naan bread or along with lots of little sides) Serves 4.


1 cup red lentils
1 cup yellow split peas
2 red onions
6 cloves of garlic
2 ripe tomatoes
2 fresh red chilies
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1 tsp hot chili powder
1 pinch of Spanish smoked paprika
1 tsp ground tumeric
2 T vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
sea salt

1. Peel and thinly slice the onions and the garlic. Halve, seed, and finely chop the chilies and roughly chop the tomatoes.

2. Pick the cilantro leaves and put aside, then finely chop the stems.
3. To a large saucepan, add the onions, chilies, tomatoes, cilantro stems, the lentils, split peas and one third of the garlic.

4. Place the pan on a high heat, pour in 6 cups of cold water and bring to a boil.

5. With a metal (I use wood) spoon scoop away any froth from the top, then add the chili powder, smoked paprika, tumeric and a pinch of salt.

6. Reduce the heat a little and simmer gently for 35-40 minutes, or until the legumes are cooked and the sauce has thickened, stirring regularly.  Meanwhile...

7. Make your table look respectable-get the flatware, salt, pepper, and drinks laid out nicely.  (This step made me smile and made me prepared, which is good).

8. Roughly 5 minutes before the daal is ready, place a small frying pan on a medium heat.

9. Add the vegetable oil, followed by the cumin and the remaining garlic and fry gently for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic is golden.

10. Swirl the cumin and garlic through the daal, tear over the reserved cilantro leaves and seve with your favorite flat bread.

It was quite good and I'm excited for today's lunch of leftovers.  When I make it next time I will put more heat in it.  I didn't add the fresh chilies as I was afraid it would be too hot for Groovy Girl.  She didn't eat it anyway so I'm going all out next time and kicking it up a few notches but the flavor was splendiforous!  We had naan and chapattis to dig in with and I served it with brown rice.  I did bring extra spice to the table so anyone could spice it up more.  Only Evan shook some chili powder onto his 2nd portion.  They brought a lovely spinach salad which was a perfect companion to the daal.

Usually with friends we might sit around and talk or play a board game but on this particular night we had tickets to the university's women's BB game so we picked up quickly and headed off to the game.

My goal has been successful for the first month and I didn't die because the house was not immaculate!


Belle Wong said...

This sounds delicious! You had me at "garlicky". I like having people over because the place stays clean for a little after, which is so nice.

Katherine P said...

Yum! I've been meaning to try Jamie Oliver's recipes but I haven't yet. I love your plan to entertain more. It can definitely get tricky getting everything coordinated. Good luck!

Unknown said...

I have a brand new package of lentils that are calling for me from my pantry now that I've seen this recipe. :)

Esme said...

You are right it is not cooking that is hard it is cleaning the house.

Beth F said...

I was going to make split pea soup this week but I think I'll try this instead. We love spicy and smoked paprika is heavenly. We barely stay on top of the housework.

Esme said...

funny how that is what forces us to clean the house.

Marie said...

This looks yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I hope to make this one soon.

The thing that bothers me most about housework is that you do it then 2-3 months later you have to do it all over again. What's up with that? :)