Recently, New World Library sent me a free review copy of Feeding the Hungry Ghost By Ellen Kanner. Reading through this book I was inspired by her Veggie Bhaji. It used all the ingredients I normally cook with here in Senegal, but sounded like it would taste different from my normal (I’m always looking for novelty). Going off this, I decided to make it a valentine’s day event – this seemed appropriate since a repeated theme in her memoir-style cookbook is that of love and cooking for those that you love. Here’s what we made: simple daahl, Kanner’s veggie bhaji, flat bread and spiked chai.
Oh man, I don’t think I could have envisioned a more perfect meal for what capped off a perfect day. Really, the way the hearty and slightly sweet daahl complemented the fresh slightly spicy vegetables and came together on a slice of warm flat bread was perfection. The spiked chai came from some vanilla Smirnoff vodka a friend had brought back from the U.S. We mixed 2 tablespoons of Smirnoff with coconut milk and then poured in the chai (made from a tea bag). I added some sweetener to mine, Rachel had hers without and we were both in love.
1 cinnamon stick
salt and pepper to taste
Sadly I didn’t measure amounts, but it is fairly forgiving to make. Put lentils in a pot and add a lot of water (or veggie broth). You are going to want at least twice the amount of water to lentils, if not more. Add the cinnamon stick and bring to a boil and then cook covered at a low boil until lentils are very mushy. If you start to run out of liquid add more, if you have too much liquid and your lentils are getting mushy take of the lid and let the water boil off. Salt and pepper to taste.
Veggie Bhaji (printed with permission from New World Library):
3 tbsp canola or coconut oil (I used sunflower)
1 tbspn black mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp unsweetened dried coconut (optional)
1/2 head purple, Napa, or savory cabbage
1 red bell pepper sliced into skinny strips
1 jalapeno chili, minced (I used the chilies they have here in the market)
juice of one lemon
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Shred the onions cabbage and carrots. In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the mustard seeds. Cook with a lid and cook until the mustard seeds pop, about one minute. Uncover the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and add the cumin, turmeric, and coconut (if using). Cook, stirring often, until the spices start to toast and the mixture becomes fragrant, about one minute.
Add the confetti of vegetables to the skillet and stir together over medium heat. Add the sliced red peppers and minced jalapeno to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, about ten minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro. Season with sea salt.
For the flat bread I used Pamela’s Gluten Free Bread Mix and followed the instructions for baking her pizza crust. However I never added the pizza toppings (-; While I don’t love this bread mix for bread, I think it makes amazing pizza crust and flat breads.
2 chai teabags (or make it from scratch)
1/8 cup coconut milk (from a can)
4 tbslpn vanilla Smirnoff vodka
Mix the ingredients together and enjoy!