Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dal Makhani and Coconut-Sesame Green Beans

This Indian meal turned out really well.  I was a little skeptical about the dal recipe because it didn't have a ton of different spices (which I tend to associate with Indian food!), but the flavor was amazing.  I guess half a stick of butter plus heavy cream will do that for you.  :)  The lentils smell so good while they're cooking, and overall they're just creamy and delicious.  I used one teaspoon of cayenne, which made them pretty spicy -- use less if you want a milder dish.

On the side are spicy coconut green beans.  Again, you can use less chile if you want a milder dish.  I loved the idea of tossing green beans with coconut milk -- it added a subtle coconut flavor that made for a simple and tasty side dish.  I don't think they're technically an Indian dish, but they went perfectly with the dal.  Don't forget naan or rice as well -- we had Trader Joe's frozen naan, which is quick and really yummy.

Overall, you'll want to plan ahead a bit with this meal, since the dal takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to cook.  But, most of that time it's just cooking -- you don't need to do much other than occasionally stirring to make sure the bottom doesn't burn.  This is definitely a meal I will be making again!

Dal Makhani (adapted from Nirvana Restaurant, via Steamy Kitchen)
Serves 4

1 cup lentils
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
4 T butter
1 T minced ginger
1 T minced garlic
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne (depending how spicy you like it!)
1/3 cup heavy cream
Minced cilantro, to serve

1. Cover the lentils with plenty of water.  Bring to a boil, and simmer 10 minutes.  Drain the water and return the lentils to the pot.
2. Mash some of the lentils on the side of the pot.  Add the tomatoes, water, butter, ginger, garlic, and cayenne. Season generously with salt, and stir everything together.  Return to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for about an hour. Make sure to check the pot and stir every ten minutes or so.  You can add more water if things look dry, but you want the sauce to be quite thick.
3. Remove fromt the heat and stir in the cream.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve sprinkled with cilantro.

Coconut-Sesame Green Beans (adapted from She Wears Many Hats, original recipe here)
Serves 4

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (shake the can first or stir before measuring)
1-1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
Salt and pepper
1 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil.  Spray the foil with a little oil.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, lime juice, garlic powder, and Aleppo pepper.  Season generously with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.  Add the green beans and toss to combine.
3. Spread the green beans onto the baking sheet in an even layer.  Roast 18-22 minutes, until the beans are tender and browned, tossing the beans halfway through roasting.  Toss with the sesame seeds and serve.


  1. Do you think the dal would be good with coconut cream instead of heavy cream? Trying to think of an option with less lactose.

    1. Haven't tried it, but it sounds yummy...I think it would be worth a try!