Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 202

Spinach Dal Curry: While doing this blog, I haven't exactly been shy about admitting that I try to eat as much free stuff as I can. If I were going to restaurants every day or buying lots of  rare, imported items, this project would get expensive really quick. Even though I try to keep it interesting, I also like to keep it cheap. That's why I love samples and buffets - they allow me to try a little bite of something new without destroying my bank account.

Today's post is the second of the samples I got yesterday from the Whole Foods on Ponce's hot bar. As I stated before, WF can be difficult for me to shop at, but occasionally I find something new (and affordable) there. Even though the hot bar didn't offer me much on this week's trip, I did find 2 new Indian foods to write about. Yesterday's "Aloo Mutter" was tasty, so I hoped today's sample of spinach dal curry held up well overnight in the fridge.
After reheating it for a few seconds, I spooned the small amount onto a plate for testing. It looked a lot like creamed spinach (which I guess it kind of is), but I knew it wouldn't exactly taste like that. If you didn't know, dal is a preparation of dried lentils or other beans, and I'm guessing those were added to the spinach mix during cooking.

My first bite was good - the whole mixture was extremely smooth, and spicier than creamed spinach could ever be. I tasted a bit of tomato flavor along with curry, and the spinach added a nice, chewy texture to the dish. It wasn't nearly as spicy or flavorful as other Indian dishes I've tried, and it'd probably work best as a side instead of a main. Still, I enjoyed it, and wouldn't hesitate at all to eat it again.

I still didn't know exactly what was in spinach dal curry, so I did a bit of research to find out. According to some recipe sites I found, it's traditionally made with a mix of spinach, onions, tomato and dal, then seasoned with spices such as garlic, cumin, mustard seed and turmeric. I love the complex spice mixtures found in Indian dishes, and this one would be a great place to start if you have a low tolerance for heat.

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