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Sometimes it is enough to eat something very simple and super easy to make. I make lentils when I run out of things to make for dinner. My usual go-to meal is a rice pulao with peas and some kind of dal.
This one in particular is especially my favorite. I love it because of it’s taste and also because it is easily accessible in any store (the lentils that is). I also love the way this particular one is cooked. My Mom has been making moong dal for years but she learnt how to make it this way from a friend.
I have been making this dal for years as well. Usually when I make lentils, I cook everything together and add sauteed cumin seeds at the end (most of the time). This one is different… I cook the lentils separately and a mixture of onions, cumin, tomatoes, etc, separately. Once the onion mixture is soft and cooked, I then add it to the cooking lentils and cook the whole thing. It is almost like a lentil stew and really delicious.
Serve with with some veggies on the side with rice or bread- it will become part of your repertoire….
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Did I mention I am trying to be healthier in the New Year? I am cooking with less oil and trying to come up with different, healthy dishes I can serve myself and my family.
The one thing I get stressed about are snacks. There are not a lot of healthy, non-sweet snacks you can pick up besides low-fat cheese, nuts and cottage cheese or even non-fat Greek yogurt. After a while, I get sick of eating the same stuff and crave something spicy and savory. If I am trying to eat healthy, I crave big flavor. The good news is, big flavor does not mean big calories. Cayenne pepper, for example does not have any calories- in fact it revs up your metabolism.
So, I looked in my pantry and found a can of chickpeas. I drained and cleaned them and roasted them in the oven until they dried up. I then took them out and mixed them up with roasted cumin seeds, smoked paprika and salt.
I treated the chickpeas as I would nuts. Nuts are great for you but do have quite a lot of calories. The roasted chickpeas had a nice crunch and the spices gave it a delicious savory taste.
I served the chickpeas with drinks but you can enjoy them in the middle of the day, between meals or anytime you get hungry. It is amazing how it fills you up…
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This rice is quite simple to make and is full of delicious flavor. I made it with the steaks and used – yes, you guessed correctly- smoked paprika. I started by sauteing onions and garlic with some roasted cumin seeds and tomato paste. Some paprika and rice later, I had a fabulous side dish. Speaking of the rice, I used basmati rice. I didn’t have any other in the house. My husband felt, the nuttiness of the basmati rice was distracting in the Spanish preparation. I agreed with him but really like the long grained rice I used. If you don’t want the same distraction, feel free to use Jasmine instead.
I served the steaks and brussels sprouts with this rice dish. If you wanted to make a one-pot meal, you could add some shredded chicken and peas into the rice and call it a day.
The rice went beautifully with the steaks and the chipotle sauce. It was a great way to eat steaks with Latin flavors… try this dish, you will love it.
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