Make it Naked

Coconut Dal with Forbidden Rice

This post made me feel like a complete idiot. First of all, dal. Is that even right? Is it dal? dahl? daal? dhal? I have no clue but I’m going with dal because it’s one less letter to type and I’m all about efficiency. Second, I’m hesitant even to admit this, but this is the second post I’ve written about this dish. The first was an entire post about lentils. Beautiful, yellow lentils. Little protein-packed legumes named for their lens-shape (Cool, right? LEN-til. Get it?). How they’re packed full of nutrients and flavor. How they’re not always yellow. Sometimes they’re red, or green, or black. Like in this salad. You didn’t click it? You should really click it. It’s one of my favorite lentil recipes. You know what isn’t a lentil recipe? This one. What you see here are yellow split peas.

So, what’s the difference? Well, not a whole lot. Obviously. I ate one and wrote an entire post about the other. They both come in

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different colors, they both are legumes, they have similar shapes and they’re both very nutrient dense foods. One cup of either provides you with about 15 grams of fiber and about 15-20 grams of protein. That’s the protein equivalent of 3 eggs. Don’t you feel healthier just reading that?

Ok, so maybe I don’t even know what I’m cooking anymore, but I know it tastes good. The split peas are slowly cooked in a mixture of coconut milk and vegetable broth. They’re seasoned with ginger and turmeric and of course, I added a kick with some cayenne. Top it off with some cilantro and you’ve got yourself one pretty impressive dish. This recipe yields quite a large amount. I never scale it back though, because it’s wonderful reheated and great to pack for lunches or for a quick leftover dinner. Add peppers or any other vegetable you’d like. Sometimes I throw in spinach and it wilts nicely stirred into the warm dal. Here I made it with forbidden rice because I’m currently in love with it. I often use short grain brown rice. Both work but I just can’t get over the color of forbidden rice. When you eat a plate this colorful by nature, you can guarantee it’s good for you.

I wish I had an excuse, that I could tell you I lost my brain somewhere in the process of making this dish. That it was so labor intensive that it sucked out all of my smart. But really you just do a little chopping, put it all in a pan and let it do its thing. That’s it. So simple. I’ve got nothing to blame, I’m just a (split)pea-brain. Coconut Dal (recipe adapted from Ultrametabolism) Ingredients: 2 cups yellow split peas 1 14-oz can lite coconut milk 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth 1 small-medium onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, pressed (or finely minced) 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger 2 teaspoons ground turmeric 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne depending on desired heat level 1/4-1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro 1 cup dried forbidden rice Directions:

  1. In a large sauté pan combine all ingredients from the split peas through cayenne. Stir and let simmer over medium heat for about 40 minutes or until split peas are
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    soft. Be sure to stir occasionally.

  2. In a saucepan combine forbidden rice and 2 cups of water. Let simmer for about 35 minutes until rice is soft.
  3. Serve the dal over the rice and top with chopped cilantro.


  1. I’m sure any type of split pea or lentil would work in this recipe. I have found that black lentils keep their shape more than other varieties so the dal might not get as thick and soupy if using black lentils.
  2. See me up there in that spoon? Notice what I’m holding? A new camera!! I got a new Canon EOS 60D and it’s way smarter than me right now. I took 89 photos of this dal and liked 4. That’s it. Four. But that will change soon enough. I have two lessons set up next week. Wish me luck!
  3. Oh and this dish is vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and dairy free. Don’t tell people that though, they get all bent out of shape when things are “_____free.” Just enjoy it for the savory, warm, comforting meal that it is.

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Posted on January 15, 2012

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