Spices Galore!

April 15, 2008

Red Lentil Dal, Cheddar Rice + Broccoli

with Yogurt and Peanuts


I made Happy Herbivore’s Red Lentil Dal tonight, and I have never used so many spices in my life!! I usually just sprinkle them in, but this recipe called for full tablespoons and teaspoons of these potent spices and I wanted it to be authentic, so I followed the instructions. Wow, it was good! I LOVE Garam Marsala!! I have been putting off trying it because the bottle is $6 and I am cheap, but I found a little packet of it at World Market for $1.37 when I was shopping this weekend – perfect! It’s a blend of my favorite spice flavors: cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cloves, ginger… Check out Wikipedia for more info. The husband commented that it was quite cinnamony for him, but I think he liked it overall.

I followed the recipe almost exactly, except I omitted the onions and used a stalk of celery. I also left out the cup of tomatoes and used a little more tomato paste. And I used fresh grated ginger instead of ground. We topped the dal with some crushed peanuts! They just seemed appropriate 😉


On the other side was Harris Teeter White Cheddar Basmati Rice (I’ve been trying to get rid of this for ages). I’m not sure how well the cheddar went with the dal, but it worked.


I also added some broccoli to the rice and let it steam a bit. Plus you can’t have ethnic-inspired food without plain yogurt!


This dinner was filling and delicious.


All together, the bowl was 500 kcal, 16 grams fiber and 27 grams protein. The peanuts contributed 60 kcal, so you could certainly omit them to lighten the dish. And perhaps half a portion of rice (or lentils) would also lighten it up.


After dinner we went for a 26-minute walk. When the weather is nice, we always have the “why not” attitude about a walk after dinner and take one almost every night. It’s a great way to catch up and spend time together – and it really helps digestion!


Did you know there’s a National Mango Board!?

Here’s more info on how to cut one. I think they need to add my video to the list!

I’m off to read in bed :)

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 VeggieGirl April 15, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Wow, a LOT of people are enjoying Lindsay’s Dal recipe for dinner tonight – that’s fabulous!!! Her recipes are ALWAYS flavorful.

Walking definitely does help digestion – especially for those of us with Crohn’s (haha, I know, I know, thanks for sharing, VeggieGirl – sorry!).

Have a fabulous Tuesday evening – we’re halfway through the week already!


2 Yaz April 15, 2008 at 7:31 pm

Dinner looks wonderful as always. I have never tried red lentils, I going to have to plan a meal around them soon.

Have a restful night K & M


3 Romina April 15, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Happy Herbivore is a fantastic chef! Her dal looks delicious. And you’re right – Garam Masala is amazing! The first time I tried it, I knew I was in heaven.


4 NCCarter April 15, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Hey Kath, have you read the new Cooking Light? The “Inspired Vegegarian” section is on Indian food, and they have a recipe for Garam Marsala, along with some recipes that incorporate it.

Also, you commented after the lunch post that you love cobbler, which is my favorite non-chocolate dessert. It reminded me that it’s almost peach season, and I LOVE making peach cobblers in the summer. Peaches might just be one of my favorite things about the South.


5 NCCarter April 15, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Uh, that should read “Inspired Vegetarian.”


6 Alex April 15, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Ha, I read “26-mile” walk instead of “26-minute.” I was like, OHMYGOD you walked that fast.


7 Em April 15, 2008 at 7:54 pm

Yum! I’ve loved Dal since I was a little girl. We’d often go out for Indian food and we would all start off with a big bowl of dal soup! It’s amazingggg


8 Ally April 15, 2008 at 7:55 pm

I love lentils so much!

I’ve had Garam Masala once in a dish and it was amazing!

Everything looks fantastic.


9 bikergurl April 15, 2008 at 7:58 pm

Another recipe that’s on my list to try… this one’s been there for a while because I’m cleaning out my pantry and don’t want to buy the ingredients :(
I would love an after dinner walk, but it’s still too cold and dark at that time of night.


10 Megan April 15, 2008 at 8:04 pm

Hi Kath,
Since you always give me such great ideas on what to eat I decided to share a recent obsession of mine. I got an ice cream maker for my bday last year and recently I started to make my own flavors of healthy sorbets and frozen yogurt. For the sorbet I made mango flavored with pureed mango and a little simple syrup and for the frozen yogurt I made strawberry banana and mango flavors with the pureed fruit , simple syrup and yogurt.
They taste great and at least I know that they are made more healthfully and in lots of different flavors I would never find in the store!


11 Kelly T April 15, 2008 at 8:08 pm

i have a bag of lentils in my pantry ive been meaning to use….i think i have a recipe now

i dont know how you eat your dinners like that….i have a weird thing about my food all touching in one bowl.


12 Avanti April 15, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Hey Kath! Love your blog! If you love Garam Masala check out an indian store. They have plenty of spices and you can get it for like a buck or two. I get mangos there too, a lot cheaper!


13 Hannah April 15, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Kelly T,
I can’t deal with my foods NOT touching. I rarely eat spaghetti unless it’s on top of a salad. All my food pics are always taken before I mash everything together…otherwise it would look like dogfood an no one would read my blog without becoming nauseous.

I am in love with your placemats! My birthday is next month and I’m pretty sure all I’ve asked for is lots of new placemats. I’ve been using some southwest print ones (that the boyfriend picked out) forever and I’m dying to get some nice, bright summer ones!


14 dolores April 15, 2008 at 9:03 pm

phew….its a good thing you walked exactly 26 minutes….and not 26:30 or 25!!!!!!! that would have been a disaster!


15 Kelly T April 15, 2008 at 9:05 pm

I know, dolores, right!?

OH I GET IT. you are being sarcastic. because that was completely necessary.


16 dolores April 15, 2008 at 9:10 pm

kelly T – I’m glad some one gets me around here!


17 Betsy April 15, 2008 at 9:33 pm

i think i’m going to make that dal tomorrow night! i bought red lentils just for the occasion. but, i wonder, why did you leave out the onions?? haha. and I love the fact that you walked 26 minutes. are you sure it wasn’t 26:30???


18 Sonia April 15, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Yippeee….I was so excited to read your post. Glad you liked the daal.
You have to try chole sometime – its kind of like dal but with garbanzo beans instead of red lentil.
I basically use the same recipe and put whatever beans I have handy.


19 Nick April 15, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Oooh yum, brown rice with white cheddar? Sorta like mac n cheese I suppose but I’ve never heard of it before. I need to get me some of that, where did you get it?

I always mean to cook with lentils and I did love dal the one time I had it. I’ll have to try it, need to pick up some garam masala though.

The Peanut Butter Boy


20 Kelly T April 15, 2008 at 10:02 pm

um dolores. im speechless. You were being sarcastic to be rude, so i was sarcastic to you to illustrate a point and you missed it. completely.

be nice to kath, she does good work.

I think this is clearer?


21 mel April 15, 2008 at 10:27 pm

looks great Kath! I have to admit I’ve never heard of Dal until recently when you and jenna mentioned it! sometime i want to try it! I wish I lived in a neighborhood instead of an apartment complex so i could walk at night and not worry about getting run over! have a great night
* I have kind of a gross question for everyone who cares…I went out two too many times last weekend (which rarely happens anymore) and drank a little (alot ) too much. For some reason the next day I always get an upset stomach and have to go to the bathroom a lot…does anyone have this problem or am I weird? haha!


22 BethT April 15, 2008 at 11:08 pm

Mel – uh yeah! Ever heard the term beer sh*ts? :) It happens to us all.


23 Jill April 16, 2008 at 1:16 am

Ok, I am so posting my garam marsala recipe, it’s the only way to go to make your own!

Do you think non-red lentils would work well for this?


24 Teddy April 16, 2008 at 1:48 am

lol i had no idea there was a mango board but you’re definitely right about adding your video…
I’ve never heard of cheddar rice before? it sounds interesting… I know my mom might like it for sure. She is of the opinion that cheese makes anything better



25 Oksana April 16, 2008 at 2:52 am

Kelly T: Come off your high horse. This is a comment page on a food blog, not Mensa. Dolores was making a joke and in fact being sarcastic back to your unnecessary response. Besides, she’s right. Also, I’m confident Kath is capable of taking such quips in stride and doesn’t need amorphous cyber-friends to quibble in her defense.


26 Danielle April 16, 2008 at 3:29 am

Girls, I need some help. Please.
I have struggled with being overly restrictive even disorderly with my diet habits. In an attempt to prove to myself that I have made great strides since then I purchased ice cream and cookies during my grocery trip to have as little desserts over the next few weeks. Last night I had 1/2 a cup of ice cream, it was delicious and I enjoyed it and I was so proud of myself. But then I went back for seconds, and thirds, and… it was almost uncontrollable and I continued to eat so much ice cream, even add a good number of cookies that I made myself sick to my stomach. I feel disgusted, even this morning, and have no desire to eat anything in the immediate future because my stomach still has that sick feeling. Does anyone have any advice or experience that they could offer me? I’m so ashamed at my “binge”… I thought that I could handle the treats… I guess not. Anything anyone could say at all would be greatly appreciated. I feel like absolute crap right now. Thank you.


27 Kath April 16, 2008 at 4:34 am

Re. 26 minutes,
OK, BIG misunderstanding here – I have been in love with the number 26 ever since I was born on October 26, 1982. Whenever I have a number to recap within a few digits, I always round for fun. So our walk was about 25-30 minutes but of course I just rounded to 26. You’ll see that often with me if you haven’t before. It seems trouble always starts on this blog when assumptions are made without the whole story.

I’d love to make my own icecream. Do you think it could be done without a maker somehow?? I’ve read to blend frozen bananas, but I’m not sure my blender could take that!

Avanti ,
Thanks for the tip!

Nick ,
It’s Harris Teeter brand rice.

Jill ,
I think you could use brown/green lentils, but I think red seem the most appropriate.



28 Katie April 16, 2008 at 6:54 am

Oh yum! I LOVE red lentil dal! I wish my husband would eat more beans. (I’m slowly introducing them to his diet). Mmm….


29 bikergurl April 16, 2008 at 6:57 am

hmmm…. I have green lentils! Maybe I will try this sooner than I thought, although I think it probably won’t be the same texture… :)


30 MLT April 16, 2008 at 7:00 am


YES! always happens to me- one of the reasons I don’t drink much. especially multiple beers. :) Try some ginger tea and crackers.

Danielle- I really don’t know what to say, except I know this happens to SO many people so don’t feel like a freak or anything. Do you have anyone you could talk to in person about this? Or even a counselor? I don’t know if you are in school, but a lot of schools and graduate programs offer free counseling to their students and i’ve done it- it is very helpful, even if they are not certified RDs, they can at least maybe point you in the right direction and help you figure out what’s going on. If not in school, maybe look around online for someone affordable in your area?


31 dolores April 16, 2008 at 7:03 am

kelly T – you were being sarcastic!?!?!

kath – haha i totally understand! it was a joke! and im the same way – i much prefer even to odd numbers.


32 Janine April 16, 2008 at 7:04 am

Yes, you can make homemade ice cream without a maker. I am a teacher and it is a relatively common “science” activity in our classrooms. I can’t remember the exact procedure, but I bet if you were to google it you would definitely find it. I would even try googling it under preschool lessons or something to that effect. Good luck!


33 Kelly T April 16, 2008 at 7:28 am

but the view is so nice from up here….


34 Anne April 16, 2008 at 8:30 am

garam marsala is really cheap to make your own, especially if you just buy the required spices in bulk

then you just have to toast them and chuck them in the blender/food processor for a few pulses

it costs less than a dollar for more than you could ever use!


35 Jennachica April 16, 2008 at 10:48 am

Danielle, get to an RD asap to help you develop an eating plan to keep you satisfied while eating proportionally balanced meals. I stress ASAP as I went through the same thing a few years back and it almost destroyed me, not only the restrictive eating and the guilt associated with binging but with the overall sense of tethering on loosing control! It is not a happy place to be. It really saddens me, having been there myself. After visiting an RD and getting help from friends (sigh no family :( in this country – made a huge impact) I have managed to maintain a 93 pound weightloss for over two years now and have never been happier! Good luck!


36 Melissa (the other one) April 16, 2008 at 11:04 am

If anyone has some free time, can you please check out this menu for The Bar? We’re going there for an event this Saturday and wanted other peoples’ advice on what the healthiest option would probably be… Bar food is SO hard! And I’m not picky, I like pretty much anything but want to go with the healthiest choice.



37 texasfoodie April 16, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Another great masala recipe is masala spiced nuts- a favorite Indian snack. I don’t have a recipe, but I think it just involves cooking the nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts- whatever combo) with a tiny bit of oil and the masala spices on the stove top. I learned about it on a trip to India… so I know it’s legit :)


38 Laura R. April 16, 2008 at 12:15 pm


That is such a hard thing to have to live with, I know because I have struggled with it and probably always will. I am not at all overweight, in fact quite thin and no one would ever guess I’ve ever had this problem. For me, I find that if I eat something unhealthy it can trigger something that makes me want to do more unhealthy eating – rather than stopping once full. I’ve managed to mostly stop bingeing though, in the last year or so, without seeking professional help, but I do think unfortunately it is a similar issue to alcoholism or drug addiction – once you have this it never, ever completely goes away. I still have to fight the urge to overeat probably once a week. Most of the time I am able to resist, although it didn’t used to be that way. The main thing that helps me is just to tell myself literally over and over that I will not binge, I can control myself, and that even if I had that second serving of ice cream, it is OK – it is just ice cream and 2 servings won’t matter – what will matter is if I eat half the carton – that actually will have a negative impact on both my body and my mind. It also helps to try to picture something positive or fun you will be doing the next day, or your future self tomorrow and how ill and unhappy you will be if you continue to eat the ice cream – to take your mind off the urge. I find there is always a turning point where you can stop yourself if you can just focus. And then, the more times you are able to cut off the urge before it starts, the easier it gets every time. I’ve also found that reading this blog every day helps a lot – Kath puts a priority on being healthy and organized and really gives us all something to aspire to. Finally, I did go to a hypnotist once for it, and I think it is an interesting idea for treatment. I didn’t continue it, but if my issues start to come back I might try that again. Sorry for the long post, I’ve never posted before, but just wanted to let Danielle know she is not alone. Kath, also I am sorry as I know this blog is not meant for people with eating disorders – but as someone who has struggled with one, it really has helped me so much to read this every day. Thanks!


39 Kath April 16, 2008 at 12:24 pm

I’m so glad you find the blog helpful. Thanks for your kind words.



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