Week day dinners – I want something that is quick, nutritious, easy to prep and make and ingredients that are readily available. I am not asking for an elaborate 7 course French meal. If it were up to me I would ask for all of it – the drink served before a French meal (L’Apéritif if I am right ?),the appetizer, the main course, the cheese, the dessert, the coffee, the after meal drink (Le Digestif??). I have to admit I have never had this kind of a dinner. Just read about it. Do people have it in one sitting? I mean I may just love the cheese or just the dessert or just the appetizer that I may not want to have the other courses. What is it then? Customize-your-own-course meal?
Dinner is going to be a soup or one main course then. Just one single pot jamming in all the nutrients together – all the carbs, proteins, fats and vitamins packed together. So that is exactly what was made for dinner – A spinach based Lentil soup (popularly known as “Daal Palak” in Indian cuisine). I made it thinner, less spicy and used baby spinach instead of the long stalked spinach.
Now why this whole build up to a one-course meal? Just that this soup helped me multitask at my best right when I needed to – I had just got back from a short run and needed to clean up, prepare dinner and feed my husband and me (considering it was my turn for the dinner menu). So just when I thought I was done with my relaxing bubbling bath and had all the time in the world to prepare an elaborate meal, a dear college friend of mine called up after a long time and suddenly it was as if the evening was over. Why? To start with we both have a tendency to not keep in touch, then yell at each other for not doing so and the one who makes the call feels the better of the two for having made the first move. So after 10 minutes of accusations, we realize we have all the gossip in the world to catch up on – starting from why friend X got married to Y and Who is Y to how my friend’s 1 year old toddler has started talking to the whole neighborhood to National issues to Why Justin Timberlake married Jessica Biel ? My husband overheard bits of our conversation and looked at me in horror as if he had lost his voice and wanted to say “Justin Timberlake, Seriously?”
So holding my cell in one hand and talking to the friend I decide “Daal Palak Soup” it is for dinner tonight. I put 1 cup of mixed split green gram and split red gram along with water, turmeric powder and salt to boil in a deep pot. While my lentils were boiling away to glory, I chopped 1 onion, 1 tomato, 1 green chili and crushed few cloves of garlic and ginger. Then in a deep non stick pan, heated 1 spoon of olive oil and added in cumin seeds, green chili, crushed garlic and ginger, chopped onions and sauteed until the onions turned translucent. Then added in the baby spinach and tomato and kept sauteing until cooked. To avoid burning since we are using less oil, kept sprinkling some water. Finally once the lentils were cooked and soft, added them to this mixture of spinach along with a cup of water. Let it boil, boil and boil. Adjust salt as per taste.
All this accomplished within 35 minutes while talking to my dear friend. After I hung up, I fed my stomach with wholesome soup goodness and my heart with the jabber I just had with my friend 🙂