At last and a long time coming….I am now the proud owner of my first French, tin lined copper saute pan! Inaugural dish being something to do with potatoes!! So to put it to the test, I went ahead with a very French dish Pommes Anna and was amazed how quickly they cooked and the base was perfectly brown and hardly anything stuck to the pan!! (Sorry, didn’t take pictures so will do a repeat soon!) Why did it take me so long to go down the copper pan route….the cost perhaps…..but I bought this one as a “second” in TK Maxx for £40 with very little wrong except for a tiny, tiny dent on the edge of the lid. And here we are and I am the first to admit that it is a hard act to beat. Not only is it the most gorgeous, beautiful, glowing, aesthetic pan ( could go on but would be bordering on the ridiculous!), it cooks beautifully at very low temperatures and visually beats every other sort of pan I have used. I for one will never be looking back and am now a life-time member of the tin lined copper pan brigade!
As for dal….we have dal at least 2-3 times a week for its nutritious quality and also because there are so many varieties to choose from, each with its own unique taste and texture. I always have at least 5-6 types of dals in my cupboard – they are all cheap and store very well and that way you are never at a loss and can produce a lovely dish in no time, specially the skinless variety, as this cooks very speedily. And as I now have my very special copper pan, I had to try cooking dal in it – not perhaps quite the right sort of pan, but hey, gotta have a go. It was unbelievable how quickly it cooked and on a very low temperature too and for some odd reason never once threatened to boil over; curious because dal usually does exactly that!
Most of us tend to use the ubiquitous orange lentil more than any other….it’s delicious, takes about 25 minutes to cook and will happily accommodate most vegetables. Try adding spinach, carrots, sauteed leeks, fried shallots, green beans etc…the list is endless. Adding vegetables is an excellent idea because this produces a meal-in-one-pot and all you need do is boil some rice to go with it – dinner is ready to go! And if you decide not to add a whole lot of veggies to your dal, simply rustle up this simple potato and onion dish …….
or a cauliflower bhaji to go with it ….
The other day I bought these pretty little sweet peppers called Chiquino from Tescos mostly because I couldn’t resist the gorgeous, vibrant colours and smooth glowing skin. Added a few to the dal and saved some which I intend to stuff to go with a salad later and here they are…..don’t you agree they are gorgeous?
1 cup orange lentils, rinsed
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 +1 tablespoons oil
1 large tomato, chopped
I teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1½ inch piece ginger, finely chopped
Few sweet Chiquino peppers (you could use the large bell variety & cut into long slices)
Salt to taste
- Fry the onion and cumin seeds in 2 tablespoons oil until the onion is golden brown
- Add tomato, curry powder, turmeric, garlic and ginger and a little salt
- Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring intermittently to avoid sticking
- Add the washed lentils to the softened tomato and spices with 400ml of water
- Cover and cook on low for about 25 minutes until lentils are cooked and the dal is thickish – if you prefer a thinner consistency, add a little more water and simmer for a further 5 minutes
- With a sharp knife make a gash in the peppers and fry for about 3 minutes until nice and golden
- Add to the dal and serve with plain rice