Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Study in Contrasts


Ooh, I got one for ya: What do palida and ratatouille have in common?

Pretty much nothing, actually. But I had them together anyway. In Chinese bowls. S'what I do.

Palida is apparently dal but with aromatic garam masala spices added at the end. I am very unfamiliar with Indian/South Asian cuisine, and didn't even know what dal referred to. Well, I tried making yellow split pea dal (not really traditional, but apparently a substitute legume used in America) and things turned out nicely. Beans! Or rather I should say legumes! With grains of some sort. It's genius, I tell you. I have to say, though, not so satisfying as meat, eating vegetarian. No, no, I'm not going vegetarian. Just with this meal.

Man, Indian cuisine is so complicated with its mass of spices, though. I couldn't find the cardamom that was supposed to be part of the garam masala. Here are the ones I did use, besides the coriander, cumin, paprika, and turmeric (and other things) that went into the stew beforehand.

Cinnamon, Cloves, and Bay Leaves

You know, I think I was actually supposed to use cinnamon sticks of 1/2 inch diameters and not 1/2 inch long cinnamon sticks. Oh well. This is on the simpler side of garam masala, too, from what I gather.

A quick question for anyone who knows: do lentils turn mushy quicker than split peas? Do split peas just take forever? I cooked them for a while and though they softened up fine, they didn't really turn to a mushy texture.  Anyway, the flavor was good--wouldn't know if it's "correct" or not, though.


Ratatouille I've been making occasionally for a while now. It's a great vegetable dish that you can make a large batch of to last a while. I used Helene @ My Tartelette's recipe, which is excellent, with quantity reductions because I don't need to make so much.

As for the palida, I got the recipe from The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook. I'll be looking into other legume recipes in the future. Especially since I have this bag of black beans sitting around, that were not fermented, as I'd wanted; I can't read hangul! Or understand what the sounds mean, anyway.


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