Monday, January 3, 2011

Winter Veg and Dahl in an Indian Flavored Tomato Coconut Sauce over Yellow Rice

We had another day of sleeping in this Sunday which will be our last for a while since the gym reopened on Monday. For breakfast I had a cup of leftover miso soup and Dan had his favorite green smoothie.

Even though we had a late breakfast we both were a little hungry around 1:30 and decided a little snack would hold us over until the 3pm meal with my parents. We decided to have an orange with two Brazil nuts for the selenium.

My omni parents seem to be more comfortable with soups and stews than most of my dishes which is why you see those quite often on the weekend. We hadn’t had Indian food in a few days so I wanted to make that for lunch. I love that Indian food is typically easy, quick and healthy since I consider that to be the perfect combination in a recipe. ;-) Here is what I did:

Winter Veg and Dahl in an Indian Flavored Tomato Coconut Sauce over Yellow Rice
Serves 4


1 cup channa dahl (or substitute yellow split peas or red lentils)
4 cups water (you may need to add more depending on whether you fully or partially cover the pot during cooking)
1 quart canned tomatoes (no salt) or 2 – 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped into bite sized chunks
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (approximately 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander seed, ground (grinding is optional)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground (grinding is optional)
2 teaspoons black mustard seed
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
2 carrots, cut into bite sized chunks
2 peeled sweet potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 small head cauliflower, separated into bite sized florets
½ of a 14 ounce can light coconut milk (freeze the remainder for another dish)
1 lime, zested and juiced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
yellow rice or other grain to serve as a bed – optional
¼ cup roasted cashews, roughly chopped for garnish


Combine the beans and water and cook until they are tender, about 30 minutes but if the beans are older it can take longer to cook.

Once the beans are tender add the onions, garlic, tomatoes and spices and cook until the veggies are tender (about 20 minutes). Add the remaining veggies and coconut milk and cook until these veggies are tender (about 30 minutes). Just before serving add the lime zest and lime juice and stir it into the pot. Taste the dish for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Stir the cilantro in at the last minute so it will retain it vibrant color and flavor.

Serve as is of over yellow rice. We had ours over yellow rice on Sunday but without it on Monday.

Nutritional Information (without the yellow rice or cashews):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 296.74
Calories From Fat (12%) - 36.97

Total Fat - 4.03g
Saturated Fat - 2.02g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 135.11mg
Potassium - 1741.43mg
Total Carbohydrates - 55.71g
Fiber - 19.71g
Sugar - 13.29g
Protein - 15.35g


This is a simple crowd pleaser and was enjoyed by the omnis and vegans at the table. I love Indian food because everyone seems to like it. The flavor is rich from the coconut milk but not overly fatty since I only used ½ a can of the reduced fat version.

Did you notice the fiber on this dish? I am certain that is why it was so filling. I have read many times that the average American consumes 12 grams of fiber per day on average. But when I made individual dishes with almost 20 grams I find it hard to imagine why people are so low on fiber. However I suppose if most of you calories are coming from meat, dairy, oil, and processed a food that is why their fiber content is so low.

You can make this dish with any number of vegetables. I vary those depending on what I have on hand. Dried or fresh mushrooms are also good in this. I had intended to add dried mushrooms but forgot about them until the last minute. That is what happens when you don’t plan.

After I cleaned up from the late afternoon meal with my folks Dan and I headed to the library and Wegman’s. No surprise I had a few books that were due back to the library on Monday and I always need something from the grocery store so we took care of both tasks since they are near each other.

As we were heading to the expressway I saw the most brilliant sunset and snapped a pic through the windshield with my phone. Of course, Dan was driving so I could do this safely in case you were wondering. ;-)

This is what I love about Wegman’s they have everything including things you didn't know you needed. How often do you see Turkish Pine nuts in the bulk section of your local market? *shakes head*

When we got home from the store and got things put away I still needed to write a post and get dinner and be in bed early to get up at 5am for the gym. Needless to say dinner had to be quick since the others things were more or less fixed. Dan and I discussed having smoothies or oatmeal for dinner (since we had no leftovers) but decided on salad. Our dinner salad contained: mesclun, red bell pepper, cucumber, Mississippi caviar, avocado and red wine vinegar. The leftover black eyed peas were very good in salad. I will be exploring variations of this in the future.

After our salad Dan had his favorite dessert, strawberry banana soft serve before bed. As usual I had few spoons after I gave him 95%+ of the batch. While Dan needs the calories I don’t so I keep my portion to nothing more than a taste.

It was really tough to turn in as early as we intended. It would have been much easier if we had stayed on our usual sleeping schedule. It is hard to go from being a night owl to a morning person but we are trying to do it. I am hoping it gets easier the longer we do it. ;-)

Happy Thoughts:

It is amazing how easy it is to find things to be happy about in your life when you just look for them. I know many people that seem to revel in being unhappy. However I think life is too short for that. We can all find things to complain about or we can look for what went right in our day. This is section of my blog is remind me and you that good things can be found anywhere if you just look. Here are my happy thoughts:

• Coming home from for Wegman’s last night I happen to notice this in the window of a house in our neighborhood. I could not stop giggling. How great is it that someone has the lamp from “The Christmas Story” in their window. That really does dispel the myth that Roland Park is stodgy. LOL

• I am always happy when I realize that both Dan and I enjoy salad for dinner. There was a time when salad would have been nothing but a warm up and now it is our meal. It amazes me when I realize how far we have come in cleaning up our diet.

• Sunday evening we got to see the most beautiful sunset because we were out running errands. Even going to the grocery store you can find a reason to be happy if you look. ;-)

• After dinner last night Dan and were discussing life and the future and he is still encouraging me to follow my dream regarding nutrition. I am not yet ready to devote years to going back to college for another grad degree but I am starting to think more about taking a few courses. I am very thankful to be in a position to follow my dream if I decide to.

• I am also grateful to still have both my parents. While they know how to push my buttons I am still happy to have them around and to be able to look in on them and make certain they are okay.

• I almost forgot to mention my major accomplishments for 2010; I ended the year weighing less, with lower blood pressure, a lower resting heart rate and wearing a smaller size. Not bad considering I will be 49 this year. The best part is that I feel like I have a much better relationship with food now and can’t imagine “falling off the wagon” as I have in years past.

Signing out:

It is almost time for Dan to head home from work so I need to run. I am trying to live up to my 2011 goal of being a better wife and spending less time on the computer or with my nose in a book when my hubby is home.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Monday and a great start to 2011. Talk to you again tomorrow.


  1. That photo of the sky is very striking. I also like what you did with your leftover blackeyeds.

    I really appreciate your happy thoughts. Even if I don't share them, I should start giving more attention to the good things. Thanks for sharing yours each day.

  2. Your miso soup looks so wonderfully hearty!
    I also made an Indian flavored dinner tonight - it's one of my favorite cuisines.

  3. My friend has that lamp from the CHristmas Story in his window as well. He loves that movie and has an annual party every year based on A Christmas Story, hah! Your dinner looks similar to what I'm having, except totally different flavor.

  4. Carissa,

    If you wouldn't mind asking your friend where he got the lamp I would really appreciate it. That is my father's favorite Christmas movie and I would love to surprise him with the lamp.

    Can't wait to see your dinner in an upcoming blog post.


  5. Congratulations on your end -o -year accomplishments, Ali! That's something to be proud of. Also, the dal dish sounds so warm and hearty, and so satisfying!

  6. Aimee,

    Thanks so much! :-) I have been working hard at my getting healthier goal. I am determined to enter menopause more healthy rather than less. We will see if it is possible. ;-)

    I love anything with Indian flavors. Other than Italian it is my favorite cuisine, in case you hadn't noticed. ;-)

    enjoy the rest of your evening,

  7. Jessica,

    I am glad you liked the photo of the sky. Thankfully I had my phone with me to capture the pic.

    The leftover beans were very good on salad. That will show up again.

    Glad you like the happy thoughts. It seems that most of us, me included, can go negative more easily than positive. I am trying to find out if looking for the positive results in a permanent attitude shift. *fingers crossed*


  8. foodfeud (M),

    I liked the okara in the miso much more than I expected. Good thing my Japanese friend mentioned her mom making it. I would never have thought to add okara.

    Indian food is so good. I have loved it since I was in my late teens when I became close to someone from Madras (India).


  9. Nice post! I especially like the happy thoughts. I wish I still had my mother, but she lives within me, so I know we are never too far apart! I thought the price on the pine nuts was ridiculous, who would pay that for a nut and they weren't even organic...unbelievable! LOL
    I am glad I have never needed a pine nut...
    I love to drink my soups from mugs and it was a welcome sight to see you do as well. Have a good evening Ali
    Higs, Viv~, Chris and I are starting to walk at the track together tomorrow!

  10. Brandi,

    Glad you liked the happy thoughts. Sorry about your mom I know you miss her.

    Since you mentioned organic nuts I don't remember ever seeing organic pine nuts probably because they grow on such old trees. However since the Chinese or Russian pine nuts are $20 and those are the ones with the unknown metallic aftertaste I would buy these. When you're Italian sometimes you just NEED pine nuts. Or if you are married to an Italian you NEED pignoli cookies, just ask Dan. ;-)

    Yay for walking the track with your hubby! Good for you getting Chris to go with you.


  11. Gorgeous sunsets. You're really so right too about it being easy to find things to be happy about when you just open your eyes and look.

  12. Heather,

    I thought the sunset on Sunday was interesting. That was the same sunset but about 25 minutes apart. It fascinated me how different the pictures were.

    My natural tendency is to be a pessimist. I am trying to seeing the good in everything. Some days it is much easier than others. ;-)


  13. ooooh man - I gotta try that Winter Veg and Dahl in an Indian Flavored Tomato Coconut Sauce over Yellow Rice
    ...looks colorful and yummy!!!

  14. I have on the stove right now your Winter Veg and Dahl and yellow rice it smells scrumptious.

    I have gone 3 days, counting today, almost entirely vegan. I had a slip up with some bread, and I credit you and your blog. I have been mimicking your green smoothies (spinach instead of kale, give me some time ;) for breakfast salads for lunch and rice and beans of some sort for dinner.

    I won't tell you about the unhealthy things that I am carrying with me (food-wise). I cannot change up everything at the same time.

    Thanks, so much. I feel better prepared to try this having followed your blog for awhile and watching your style of meals.


    PS You were correct, whole foods does have nutritional yeast, thanks for the tip.

    PPS I miss Wegmans such a great grocery!

  15. Jin,

    This is an easy dish but has a nice subtle Indian flavor. If you leave off the rice it makes a nice stew.


  16. Susan,

    Woo hoo for three days of healthy vegan food. Go you! Are you starting to feel better yet? I hope so.

    It is hard to change everything at once. We went from omni to vegan overnight and it was a bit of a shock. The good news is that it gets easier the longer you do it. Within a month you will be a pro.

    If I can help with anything else please don't hesitate to ask. Congratulations again. I am so excited for you. I hope you experience all the wonderful health effects that we did.


  17. Ali,
    That's wonderful to hear that you are seriously considering going to school to further your nutrition knowledge. Please keep me in the loop! By the way, a friend just told me about a "cowboy caviar." Funny how things connect like this!

  18. Jill,

    Thanks for your support. I feel a little old to be considering going back to school but since I am learning continually on my own at least I know my brain is still working. ;-)

    The black eyed pea caviar was something I ate years ago. I think it was popular in the 80's but don't remember exactly when I had it.

    I hope you are having a good Wednesday,

  19. Hi Ali,
    I think the fact that you WANT to go back to school is what will set you apart. You'd clearly be there because you want it. Besides, with something like nutrition that is constantly evolving, people's knowledge of even a few yrs ago is probably obsolete already!
    It's so important for your own sanity and brain health to continually learn new things. Just like you eat healthy foods to strengthen your body, these facts are strengthening your mind keeping it sharp. Sort of like an edible crossword puzzle!

  20. Jill,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I think we can all use a little pep talk now and then. :-)

    I do agree with you that nutrition like any science seems to change often. But I also think the basics most scientists agree with, it is only a matter of degree/quantities they disagree on. You don't hear anyone (with any credibility) saying you should eat meat, dairy, sugar and/or processed foods with abandon any more as an example.

    talk to you later,

  21. I love dal and this sounds like a great recipe--on the "to try" list asap! :) And how timely that I read this post (and especially the happy thoughts section) right after I posted my own whiny one. Thanks for the breath of fresh air! :) xo

  22. Ricki,

    I love the ease of one pot dishes. This also makes a nice stew if you don't want to make the grain to go under it.

    I didn't think your post was whiny just factual. We all have struggles, me included. I try to focus on what is right because if I let myself think of what is wrong I could easily spiral out of control. ;-)


  23. Ali, I am pretty sure he got it from here:


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