Thursday, December 12, 2013

Think Kit #12: Nu-Dill

I like to say that I'm a restless wanderer, but aside from new brews (thanks, Twenty Tap) – I don't do a whole lot of "new" week-to-week. I have set habits that may or may not make me some kinda OCD-freak:

  • alternating breakfasts (toast one day, egg the next)
  • when weather cooperates, running Sun. - Thurs.
  • read New Yorker in the AM and before bed
  • read NY Times over lunch
  • consistently cook-and-refine favorite recipes fairly often
  • spin records from 7p - 8p while cooking or cleaning
...I mean, you get the point. Being an adult is some boring shit.

I did try something new this week. It's really cold, and I had some fresh dill to use before it went off, so I decided to make some soup. Or more specifically, dal, an Indian-subcontinental specialty that is always amazing at an Indian joint – the earthy thickness of lentils, fragrant aroma of spice, and bite of fresh herbs create a powerful spell to eyes, ears, and mouth ... but mine are usually lacking. 

What am I missing? Is it ghee? Is it fresh spices? Some kind of hidden secret like tamarind paste or other exotic, unpronounceable powder? Maybe I'm cooking it wrong?

I've also only used fresh dill in one recipe so far a dry Indian curry that's so good...I haven't branched out. The dill cooks down till it's tender like a green – unfortunately, I only see dill in bulk at Asian markets like Saraga. Come on, Kroger, step up your produce game! I don't want those tiny, plastic containers of past-date herb snippets. Weak.

This time I cooked the lentils separate, in liquid (2 to 1 ratio); afterwards you can easily whisk them into sort of a paste. I sauteed onions, garlic, and spices in a separate pot, then added the dill, cooked down a bit – after which I added the lentils and some water, and brought to a boil as a light, spicy soup.

In hindsight, I wish I had added a cup or so less water, in order to thicken things, but this method was closer to what I was hoping for. ...still might need that ghee, though!


  1. Drool! That looks delish.

  2. I wasn't hungry enough when I read this post to appreciate it properly. :) Looks good, though!

  3. I don't have any good dal secrets for you, but... running, reading, cooking, music. Doesn't sound boring to me! :)

  4. My memory (faulty) says that there is at least one great dal soup recipe in this book.