Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 45: Spicy Yellow Split Pea Quinoa Dal, and Quick Skillet Flatbreads

I'm not quite sure what to make of tonight's dinner.  There were things I liked, and things I didn't for both the soup and the flatbread.  I will try these recipes again, but play around with the seasonings.

The soup was good, but the seasonings were a bit strong.  I'm not a fan of turmeric -- it's a little to bitter for me.  Next time I think I'll the measurement down to 1/2 tsp, and for that matter I'll reduce the cumin and coriander to 2 tsp and 1 tsp respectively (that's what I use when I make lentil soup).

Unfortunately I didn't have any split peas, yellow or otherwise, so I substituted lentils.  I love lentils, and I think they worked well with the quinoa.  Now grains are a great addition to soup, but they do tend to "takeover" the pot, if you know what I mean.  I liked the combination of quinoa and lentils, but I think I'll cut the quinoa to 1/2 cup next time.  And I liked the book's suggestion to add cauliflower and red bell pepper to the soup.  Maybe I'll throw them in the soup, too, next time.  

The flatbreads were interesting.  I was kind of expecting them to be crisp for some reason, but they weren't -- and that's not a bad thing.  They were moist and tender, almost like crepes.  That gave us a great idea:  tomorrow we're going to warm them up in a pan, pour some syrup over them, and eat them for breakfast!  

Now I didn't have yogurt to put in the flatbread but I did have sour cream.  Since yogurt is a substitute for sour cream, shouldn't the reverse be true?  Well, that's what I used anyway, and I don't think it hurt a thing (except the calorie count).

The cooking instructions for the flatbreads seemed unnecessarily complicated.  I ended up cooking them like pancakes, pouring the batter and tilting the pan to spread it out, and then flipping them when the edges appeared dry.  They were easy to make -- the hardest part was waiting on the pan to get hot!

Spicy Yellow Split Pea Quinoa Dal
The New Whole Grains Cookbook
Yield:  8 cups, or 6 servings

1 tbsp ghee or oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
2 tbsp minced ginger
Minced jalapeno to taste
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 1/2 cups yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
About 8 cups water, divided
2 carrots, chopped
1 tbsp raw sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
Cayenne (optional)
1 tsp salt

     In a 4 quart soup pot, heat the ghee.  Add the onion and saute over medium heat until softened and golden.  Add the mustard seeds and saute until fragrant, about a minute.  Add the ginger, jalapeno, cumin, turmeric, and coriander and stir for another minutes.  Add the split peas, quinoa, and 6 cups of the water and bring to a boil.
     When the peas come to a boil, add the carrots to the pot.  When it boils again reduce the heat to a simmer and cover, stirring every 10 minutes and adding more water as needed, until the peas are falling apart, just under an hour.
     Season the Dal with the raw sugar, lemon juice, cayenne to taste (if using) and salt.  Puree if you want a smooth texture.  Serve with flat hotbreads.

Quick Skillet Flatbreads
The New Whole Grains Cookbook
Yield:  Makes six 8" flatbreads

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup oat, millet, teff, or amaranth flour
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup plain yogurt, any type
1 cup plus 2 tbsp water, plus more if needed.

     In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, and baking soda.  In a cup, whisk the yogurt and water together, then stir into the dry mixture.  Add additional water, if needed, to make a batter with the consistency of heavy cream.  Cover and let stand for half an hour.
     Heat a nonstick, 10 inch saute pan over high heat, and use a paper towel to smear just a bit of oil in the pan.  Use a scant 1/2 cup measure to scoop batter into the hot pan, then tilt and swirl the pan to spread it out to a round about 8 inches across.  If the first one is too thick, thin the batter a bit with water.  Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook for 1 minute, flip the bread, cover, and cook for 1 minute more.  Flip the bread, and cook for 1 minute uncovered, then flip once more, and cook for 1 minute uncovered.  Slide it out onto a plate and continue with the rest of the batter.
     Serve the breads warm with soup, or topped with cheese, or rolled with fillings.

Tomorrow night:  Pizza with 4 Cheeses.


  1. I enjoyed the mix of spices in the soup. It smelled like a Middle Eastern restaurant when I came in the door. The soup was tasty, the flatbreads were fun, and I'm looking forward to having them for breakfast because they reminded me of very skinny pancakes or crepes. It is afterall the weekend which means I can raid the refrigerator for any leftovers from the past week's meals!