Saturday, 18 August 2012

Chunky Daal and Pauper's Pan Bread

What that, daddy-o? You're poor? Like really poor? Like wonga loan poor? Me too. Well let's throw on some Jazz Fm, grab that bottle of micro-brewed IPA you got free from work, and get used to eatin' cheap. Today's menu? Lentils and bread.

For the daal you will need:

  • big yellow lentils. This kind:

         I keep in them in a tub so I don't have the packet, but I think these are chana dal, a.k.a             yellow split peas. You'll need about a scoop and a half. When I say a scoop, I mean 100ml, which is the largest cup on the IKEA set of measuring cups I use. When I say "teaspoon" I mean just a bog standard cutlery teaspoon. Other measurements are other scoops in the scoop set.
  • Onion. I used 2 small spring onions, but you could use a shallot or about a quarter of a standard white or red onion, I guess.
  • Sesame seeds. I get them cheap from Chinatown, but sometimes supermarkets stock them in the whole foods section. Use about 15ml (a tablespoon full) of these.
  • Garlic. About 2 large cloves.
  • Oil or ghee or butter. I used a sesame/vegetable oil blend infused with garlic. 
  • Curry paste. I used 1 big teaspoon dollop of this stuff:
  • Chilli flakes. 1/2 a teaspoon to 1 teaspoon depending on how you like your spice.
Okay poor people, let's cook!
  • Put your lentils in a sieve and give them a vigorous wash under running water. Pick out any blackened lentils, small stones, or (in my case) large chunks of wood. Put your lentils in a pan of water and boil for 10 minutes. Drain your lentils, rinse and leave in the sieve.
  • Pour enough oil into your pan to cover the bottom in a thin layer, and heat on low. Chop up your garlic and onion, fry, add the curry paste, chilli flakes, and sesame seeds and cook until your onion starts to soften.
  • Add the lentils, give everything a good stir and cook on medium heat for about five minutes.
  • Add a scoop of water and simmer until it's the consistency you want. Some people like their daal more soupy, I like mine quite pulpy with only a little bit of liquid.
Now you can stop here if you want, but I like mine with bread to dip into the lentils and sweep up the side of the bowl. You could, of course, use store bought naan bread or chapatis, but we're poor, remember? So:
  • Take 1 scoop of white bread flour, a pinch of salt, 5ml of baking powder, 15ml of oil, and combine it bit by bit with about 40ml of water until you have a flexible dough. You can add cumin or coriander seeds if you have them, but I ain't fancy enough fo' that.

  • Heat up a little oil in a frying pan, stretch out your dough into a patty (you can use a rolling pin for this but I just used the heel of my hand), and gently lower it into the hot oil. You want the pan on a medium heat so that the dough has time to activate the baking powder and puff up.

  • When your dough gets a good amount of dark brown spots on the underside, flip it and cook the other side. You may need a little more oil.
  • Serve it up! Daal in a bowl, bread on the side. Watch out though, the bread stays really hot on the outside for long time.

And that's it really. Serves one hungry hungry hobo as a stand alone dish, two if served with rice and/or vegetable curry.

Of course, if I'd gone for a walk instead of staying in to cook, I would have noticed that Dirty Burger down the road from me were giving out free burgers from 1-2pm. DAMMIT.

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