Friday, March 16, 2012

Mustard, cumin, and coconut

Somewhat coincidentally, our dinner on Monday ended up being two dishes flavored with mustard, cumin, and coconut. I found both recipes online, but I modified them fairly significantly, so I'm including the recipes.
I have made the coconut greens recipe from 101 cookbooks before, that time with spinach (see above photo), and Jon loved it, so when I was trying to decide what to do with some leftover chard in the fridge, that came to mind. I also used coconut oil this time to enhance the coconut flavor (and because I just bought it for the first time, and I've been trying it in everything). We used both the stems and leaves of the chard. I just threw the stems in with the onion. Chard is more substantial than spinach, and I think it held up really nicely. I don't know which version I liked better.
The dal came up when I was looking up moong dal recipes online. I noticed that it had cucumber cooked with the dal, which I had never tried before. I also happened to have a partially rotten cucumber in the fridge. I cut off the rotten parts (most of the skin) and used the rest in the dal. It was a good use for a no-good cucumber, but we couldn't really taste any cucumberiness. I think it's omit-able, unless you've got some yucky cucumber to use up. The original recipe suggests squash as an alternative, and I think the effect would be similar. The recipe would be good without it, but it wouldn't hurt anything. Once again, I used coconut oil because I had it and to enhance the flavor.
For our salad, Jon tossed together a slightly unusual one: lettuce, red pepper, tomato, avocado, clementine slices, cashews, and coconut flakes. He dressed it with lime juice, honey, and olive oil. It was nice and tropical, a fitting complement to the dishes I made.

Spiced coconut greens (adapted from 101 cookbooks)

1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch chipotle
1/3 cup minced onion
4 Swiss chard stems, chopped (optional)
4 Swiss chard leaves, chopped, or about 6 oz spinach, chopped
Lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp shredded coconut

Heat coconut oil in a large skillet on high. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, salt, and chipotle, and cook until the mustard seeds start to pop. Immediately add onion and chard stems, if using, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the chard or spinach and cook, stirring often, until it is wilted.

Moong dal with cucumber and coconut (adapted from edible garden)

1 cup moong dal
1/2 cup chopped cucumber (about 1/2-inch cubes)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped onion

Cover dal and cucumber with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower heat to a simmer. Cook until dal is your preferred texture.

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