When it comes to comfort food, most people conjure up thoughts of ooey, gooey casserole dishes their mothers used to make. Maybe macaroni and cheese? Lasagna? Or perhaps your sweet tooth does the thinking and it’s something a little less savory and a little more chocolate chippy?
Whatever your comfort food of choice is, we all know the lovely ambiance created by merely thinking of it; it’s pillowcases right out of the dryer. It’s the smell of freshly baked bread.
Prior to two years ago, my comfort foods came in candy wrappers, rhymed with schmeet bloaf, or flavor offerings of chicken and beef. Sexy, I know. Thankfully, times have changed and since becoming a vegetarian (and significantly healthier), these former “comforts” have been given the boot.
Everything I’ve eaten in the last year and a half has been relatively new. In fact, I’ve hardly had the same dish twice! With that said, it’s been hard to develop favorite comfort foods when I’m constantly eating new things. Comfort food genres maybe–after all, every Pacific Northwesterner has a place in their heart for soup, especially on those blistery, wet winter days that happen…well, often. Even in summer.
So, you can imagine my surprise when after making some dal for the first time, I immediately fell head over heels into the comfort food cloud. It all started with some zucchini that needed using; I flipped open Amadea Morningstar’s The Ayurvedic Cookbook and landed on the simple, yet tasty, zucchini and mung dal recipe. And boy oh boy, will this page forever be dog-eared.
Far from spicy (although it can easily be made spicy by upping the chili, if that’s your cup of tea), this dish is incredible simple and nourishing. No one flavor will stand out and impress you, it’s more of a collective mmm that I, and everyone else at the table, partook in.
I foresee this being a staple in my recipe index. SInce this dal a calming dish for all dashas, it will please all constitutions (vatas, pittas or kaphas (*ahem*) and can easily be made for anyone.
This dish goes really well with basmati rice and a vegetable side dish. As you can see I opted for white basmati and broccoli. Morningstar notes that this dish goes really well with rice and rotali (chipattis). While I wasn’t able to chipattis this time around, I most certainly will next time. And let me tell you, there will be a next time.
I will absolutely be making this again. And again. And again!
Recipe is after the jump.
Zucchini and Mung Dal
Serves: 4-5 portions
Source: The Ayurvedic Cookbook
1 C split mung dal or whole mung beans
1 1/2 tbsp oil (A: I used vegetable)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp hing (asafetida)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
4 C water
2 C zucchini, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 tsp fresh ginger root, finely minced (A: I used 3)
1 tsp sea salt (A: I did a very generous heaped tsp)
1/2 – 1 tsp coriander powder (A: I used at least 2-3)
1/2 green chili pepper, finely chopped (A: can use a whole chili if you like heat)
- Soak mung in 4 C of water for 2 hours. Heat oil in a heavy skillet, add the mustard seeds. When they pop, add turmeric, hing (asafetida), lime juice and drained mung beans.
- Add fresh ginger root and 4 C of fresh water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes if split mung, 1 hour or more (mine took 75 minutes) if whole mung beans.
- Add zucchini and remaining ingredients and cook for 15 minutes more, or until the beans are soft.