Sunday, December 23, 2012

locust dal

the always rad alex caldeiro.

the jazzers.

reading from my emily dickinson manuscript.  7 days to have it completed by the end of 2012.
here's a little tour of the last locust salon, featuring QNMA, the inimitable alex caldeiro, poet (and utah state poet laureate) lance larsen, and some lentil dal.

also, i finally got around to writing down my lentil dal recipe.  a few people have asked for it, so it's found at the bottom of the post.

so many candles #firehazardous.

more tights.

locust salon spread.
fashionistas lula & anna.  also, martha stewart ladies.
true artist & sonospher alex caldeiro.

a not very appetizing shot of the dal.

lance larsen reading a rad poem about pablo cassals.

locust salon tights:  grape, dove grey, black lace.

QNMA, killing it.

Locust Salon Dal

Christian makes this killer black-eyed pea chilli that used to be our Locust Salon standard, but since we have so many vegetarians in attendance, we’ve moved towards lentil dal.  Also, since I get a little fierce when someone else is in my kitchen, I must have unthinkingly edged Christian out of my territory.  Sorry, hon!

So, given that this is my “serving at least 25 people” dish, you may wish to cut the recipe in half.  If you have enough for 12, you’ll be happy with the leftovers, as this dal develops killer second day swag in the fridge.  I make it in a 6.5 quart crock pot.  It will work just as well on the stove-top.  Bring to a high simmer and then turn down the heat to medium low for an hour or so, or until the dal gets creamy and fairly smooth.

The recipe emerged over a couple of years, and is, I’m pretty sure, a mis-match of north and south Indian cuisine.  I use a pick n’ choose method when developing my recipes, in concert with a high level of improvisation, so I can’t vouch for the perfection of the written down form here.  You all will have to use your tasting skills to get it to your liking.

If you’re the kind of cook who needs exact instructions, know this:  the key to getting your dishes as delicious as you want them to be is the adjustment of salt and acid levels.  For this dish, start with a smaller amount of salt and lemon juice and keep adding, stirring and tasting until you are happy. If you don’t taste as you cook, then I really can’t help you.  Sorry.

Also, depending on the level of heat you like, you can go with a hotter curry paste and more or less curry paste.  (I’m super embarrassed to admit that I use curry paste.  Sometimes I do actually take the time to make a paste of fresh ground spices, garlic and ginger, but more often than not I’m too pinched for time and not well-outfitted enough with all of the spices to make that happen.)


1 medium bunch of cilantro
2 medium yellow onions
4 tomatoes
2 lemons
2 big spoonfuls of curry paste (I use Patak’s mild curry paste.  You can use a hotter paste if you prefer.
1 T. salt (adjust to taste)
2 16 oz. cans coconut milk
2 c. red lentils
2 c. yellow lentils
1 stick unsalted butter

1.     Wash and finely chop the stems only of the cilantro.  Set aside the leaves for the raita.
2.     Roughly chop onions and tomatoes.
3.     Juice lemons.
4.     Add onions, cilantro, tomatoes, curry paste, salt and coconut milk to crock pot.  Stir until curry paste and salt are dissolved into the coconut milk.
5.     Add lentils and enough water to nearly fill crock-pot.
6.     Place stick of butter on top of lentils to dissolve throughout cooking.
7.     Stir twice during cooking time, adding water if lentils get too thick or dry.
8.     Right before serving adjust salt level and add half of lemon juice.  Increase amount of lemon juice if needed.
9.     Serve with basmati rice, raita, and crispy brown onions.

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