Indian Vegetarian Recipes

Indian vegetarian recipes - red lentils w/ kale Dali Ambat

It’s almost guaranteed that each week’s menu will include an Indian dish these days. It’s such a no-brainer because it’s always delicious and reasonably easy. Dali Ambat is another one of the Indian vegetarian recipes adapted from one of my all time favorite cookbooks, Vegetarian Indian Food. I like tinkering with recipes, but honestly if you make anything from this book as-is it is no-fail absolutely delicious.

I find red lentils at our Indian Grocer. Green lentils are easier to find at any grocery store, but I’m not sure it’s an appropriate substitute for this one. The reds cook into a mash that is almost the texture of mashed potatoes or something equally as tasty, and the flavor is much different than green lentils. Another somewhat specialty item that is absolutely worth finding is tamarind. Lime juice is an ok substitute but there is something about tamarind that is unique.

This one is especially good now that I’ve got it just the way I want it. Warm Indian spices, kale, creamy coconut milk, tangy tamarind. Fenugreek is the star in this one. Love the stuff. It just screams Indian food when you smell it hit the pan.

How about I stop rambling and post the recipe already?!

Dali Ambat Recipe (Red Lentils and Greens)
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup red split lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 9 oz spinach, or 1 bunch kale torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 jalepeno chopped
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 TB tamarind juice (or 3 TB lime juice)
  • salt to taste
  1. Bring lentils and water to a boil. Allow to bubble for 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil in a separate pan to medium. Add fenugreek seeds and onion. Toss and cook until onion is tender and translucent, around 10 minutes until almost beginning to brown. Add coconut milk, turmeric, and kale to lentils. Gently toss until kale begins to wilt. Cover and cook on low for around 5 minutes until greens are desired texture. Add onion mixture and tamarind to lentils along with 1 tsp salt. Adjust salt to taste.

I usually prefer kale over spinach. I love spinach too, but kale tends to hold its texture better for leftovers. We had this with flavored flat bread. I had dough leftover from taking these bread offerings to a potluck, and it was the perfect addition to this Indian meal. Full disclosure…these doughs were really my standard dough recipe with flavorings added. For a true flat bread simply omit the yeast. No rise time needed, but allow the dough to rest for around 30 minutes before working with it.

For one of the doughs I grabbed a couple things off the olive bar at Kroger, a few sundried tomatoes and roasted garlic cloves. I whizzed those in the mini chopper and added to the other ingredients while mixing/kneading the dough. The other was spiced with 3 tablespoons fenugreek leaves, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp chili powder, and 1 tsp cumin.

After each dough had risen I dumped it out on a cutting sheet lightly sprayed with oil. I cut it into single serving portions, 16 pieces. Roll or press/stretch each piece into a thin pizza thickness. Heat a pan or griddle to medium high. Cook pieces quickly on each side until browned. I break out the griddle for this one so I can keep it going like an assembly line. Extra dough can be stored in the fridge for a few days before cooking. Extra dough or breads can also be frozen.


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