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Fall Foods

It is officially fall.

I walked into Trader Joe's and was honestly overwhelmed by the number of pumpkin items.  The leaves have started falling.  I've started settling in a bit again and I can't stop the craft ideas from filling my head.  I'm feeling a bit more reflective.  I think I heard last year based on your natural cycle during the year, fall is the season it is most natural to us to reflect, set goals, etc.  Do you fall in this category?  I do.

One thing I can't deny is I start cooking more in the fall.  In the summer I can survive on tomato & mustard sandwiches.  In the fall I cook a lot of Indian food.  Or more specifically, Indian type dishes.  Lots of beans, lots of spices.

One dish I frequently make (and made my first one of the season last week) is Masoor Daal or Masoor Dal.  Dal or Daal is a hindi word meaning lentil and Masoor is the type of lentil. There are a billion types of lentils.

Here's the recipe I follow from my friend, Rubina:
half an onion - I like the red ones (use whichever you prefer)
1 slice of ginger (peeled) (slice is about an inch thick) - you can substitute 1tsp powder
1/4 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne (I usually add more - feel free to edit to taste)
1-2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup red lentils

Heat oil in pan, add onion, cook for a bit - I like my onions brownish.

Add cumin seeds. Wait till they stop popping (takes about 15-30 seconds)

Add the lentils and immediately cover in 1 inch of water. After the water has been added, throw in the cumin, the piece of ginger or the ginger powder, turmeric, salt and cayenne.

After it boils, simmer until the lentils are cooked (i.e. no longer crunchy).

I like to throw in a diced tomato (can of diced tomatoes on exceptionally lazy days) cause tomatoes are good for you and also it makes it a super-food dish. (Proteins + tomatoes) Alternatively I throw in a bunch of spinach (no particular amount).

Even though this is "spice-light" meal for indian food it does require a fair number of spices. You could skip some I'm sure but the dish would be a lot less flavorful and lot less good for you. 
Here's what the lentils look like cooked: source.

There are a variety of variations on the internet. Look for "Masoor Daal recipe" or "Masoor Dal recipe" on google. (Dal or Daal is a hindi word meaning lentil and Masoor is the type of lentil. There are a billion types of lentils.) Now you know more than you ever need to in order to make a simple lentil recipe.
Now you have a delicious Masoor Dal recipe and a little idea why I like Rubina so much :)

I will say it's super delicious (and, yes, better if you don't leave any spices out) and super easy!  Win, win!

I also find myself cooking a lot of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), adding onion, peas, tomatoes, some sort-of veggie variation, and I use the amazing spice boxes they sell in Indian grocery stores for 99¢.  They are amazing.

P.S. A lot of credit goes to my friend, Rubina, for introducing me to Indian food and giving me the confidence to experiment with it.

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