Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Slow cooked Daal with Quinoa

I wasted spent the first 25 years being afraid of Indian food. I had never tried it and for some reason, was scared at the thought. Curry, for SURE, is a weird spice that would definitely give me a stomach ache. Cardamom? What is that? Tumeric? What are these strange spices that you want me to consume? (ha! these thoughts coming form a Puerto Rican who grew up eating things that others would find weird too.)

Luckily, one of Dennis’ best friends from college is from Mumbai. He turned him on to his native cooking from the start, and it’s now Dennis’ favorite cuisine. When we first started dating, he insisted on taking me to his favorite Indian restaurant from college up in Rochester NY. I wont lie; I was scurrrd. But 6 years later, it’s now one my favorite cuisines as well.

Tip: If you’re going to try a new cuisine for the first time, go to a lunch buffet. I usually hate buffets, but it’s the only way to try lots of different things, allowing you to figure out what you like.

Since I have half of my 5 pound bag of lentils still sitting in my pantry, I decided to give Daal a shot. I found this recipe from my favorite veggie slowcooker book and went to town.

Slow Cooked Daal with Quinoa
Adapted from Here


  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp minced fresh minced ginger (I used ground ginger)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 ground cardamom (I didn’t have any)
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground curry
  • 1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I used pink beans)
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Pour the oil into a 4-quart slow cooker and set it on high
  2. In a food processor, puree the onion, garlic and ginger and add it to the cooker. Cover and cook to mellow the flavor and remove the raw taste while you assemble the other ingredients. Stir in the spices and cook, Stir for 30 seconds. IMG_1470 IMG_1471
  3. Turn the setting to Low. Add the lentils, beans and water. Cover and cook for 8 hours. Before serving, season with salt and pepper and adjustthe others if necessary.

Most of the time, Indian dishes such as Daal are accompanied with basmati rice. I didn’t have any, so I decided to use Quinoa instead.


IMG_1472 IMG_1476


What I loved about this recipe is that it’s easy, it’s packed with protein, and my house smelled so good while it was cooking. I mixed it in with the quinoa but it can also be eaten plain and of course, the traditional way with basmati rice. The spices are not overpowering but they’re prevalent.

What’s your take on Indian food? Love it or hate it?

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