Sunday, 30 March 2014

Brown Lentil & Butternut Dopiaza

Dopiaza comes from the Persian meaning “having two onions”. It is a South-Indian (Hyderabadi) curry dish, prepared with a large amount of onion, both cooked in the curry and usually as a garnish. Onions are added at two stages during cooking, hence the name "two onions". Whilst it is possible to fry off some onions and add them as a garnish, this dish employs an alternative bit of trickery. Instead, we add roasted leeks at the end, which are in the onion family. The addition of a sour agent is a key part of dopiaza. Most often, raw mangoes are used but lemon juice or cranberries can be used as well. We use yoghurt. The dish usually contains a meat, so again by using brown lentils, we have gone beyond the traditional with this wholesome dopiaza.

1 small Butternut Squash
2 Large Leeks

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp methi (fenugreek) leaves 

Mix the spices together in a small bowl or dish, with the exception of the olive oil.

Chop the butternut squash into 1 inch pieces, keeping the (edible) skin on. Likewise, chop the Leeks into 1 inch pieces.

Mix the Squash and leeks in a roasting dish, and thoroughly cover in the olive oil.

Now mix the spices in with the vegetables and oil, and put in the oven at 180 degrees (Gas Mark 4) for 20 – 25 minutes, whilst getting on with the other prep. Turn occasionally.

2– 3 large onions
7 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled
6 Tbsp ghee
1 inch stick cinnamon
10 whole cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
1 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
About 1 ¼ tsp salt

Coarsely chop ginger and garlic. Mix together.

Heat the ghee on high heat until very hot, and add cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon, and salt. Wait for the cardamom pods to pop, and reduce heat to medium- high.

Add the onions and fry until caramelized brown, constantly turning. As this happens, add in the garlic and ginger, and finally the ground coriander.
2 cups presoaked brown lentils
5 cups water

Reduce the onions (5 minutes or more), adding drips of water to prevent sticking to the pan. Once a nice soupy consistency is formed, add the lentils and the rest of the water, stirring the mixture. Allow to simmer.

Remove the roasted leeks and butternut squash when browned off and caramelized. Set aside.

6 Tbsp plain thick yoghurt
¼ - ½ tsp cayenne powder
½ tsp garam masala

After an hour or so, the brown lentils will have softened, but they don’t usually disintegrate fully as with many other lentil varieties, and will retain some texture. This is quite normal. Adjust or lengthen the cooking time to get a texture and consistency you prefer.

When ready, add in the yoghurt, 1 Tbsp at a time, folding in to the mixture. Add the cayenne and garam masala. Allow to simmer on low heat for another 15 minutes.

Roasted butternut squash and leeks.
Add the roasted butternut squash and leeks, together with remaining spices and oil from the roasting dish, to the brown lentil curry. You can fold it in to the curry, place it on top like a garnish, or a bit of both as desired. Another option is to use it as a vegetable side.

Eat with steamed rice or flatbreads. Serves 4.

Anthony de Mello was an Indian Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who became widely known for his books on spirituality. An internationally acclaimed writer and public speaker, de Mello hosted many spiritual conferences and after his death got up the nose of the Catholic Church for not towing the line enough in his books. This is a quote from one of his books:

“The philosopher Diogenes was eating bread and lentils for supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king. Said Aristippus, 'If you would learn to be subservient to the king you would not have to live on lentils.'

Said Diogenes, 'Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king".” 

By South Utsire

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