cilantro-mint slaw with tomato-dal soup and tamarind rice

September 28, 2010

our mint is outrageous. it is larger than life, towering over the wimpy sage plant in the tiny raised beds on our parkway (grassy area between street and sidewalk)

in trying to brainstorm a way to use a mess of store-bought cilantro (3/$1.00 during the summer) and some indian ingredients, i came up with this meal. if you have spices in your house, this meal costs next to nothing to prepare, and takes very little effort.



cilantro-mint slaw

cabbage, chopped (green, red, napa, or some combination. there’s no laws on slaw.)
any other raw vegetable you have in the house, shredded or chopped.
salt these in a big bowl while you find the other ingredients.
a sprinkling of sugar
lots of lime juice and rice wine vinegar (i used a little apple cider vinegar, too) – no, seriously, LOTS.
tons of coarsely chopped cilantro and mint
a little chopped ginger and garlic
a little bit of leftover spices you ground for the soup if there’s any remaining
diced jalapeno in pickled or fresh form
sesame seeds for sprinklin’ (a little sesame or mustard oil gives a good flavor, too, if you have any)

mix together, stick in the fridge while you prepare the rest. cold salads are infinitely better when allowed to “rest” – the salt and acids pull out flavors and soften the cabbage.  probably homemade yogurt or kefir would give a great creaminess. next time i’ll try our vegan coconut-milk kefir.

tomato and dal soup

  • 10 tablespoons uncooked split peas or beans (lentils, pulses, whatever you call it. any legume that doesn’t require an overnight soak.) toor dal (yellow pigeon peas,) masoor dal (red lentils,) chana dal (split chickpeas,) or anything else.
  • 8 cups water (or more)
  • 3 tablespoons ghee, coconut oil, butter, or oil (i used canola and mustard)
  • 3 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 2 fresh hot peppers (or less if you’re a wimp)
  • 3-4 lbs. ripe tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 teaspoon tamarind concentrate (or pulp if you’re lucky enough to have it)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • asafoetida or chopped garlic to taste
  • amchoor, a dried mango powder, which i added because i really like tangy soups. lime or lemon juice would be good, too.
  • salt and pepper to taste

cook dal in yr soup pot – use about three cups of water. three cups? yes.

boil + ignore ’til they start looking like mush. stir so they don’t stick. when water is absorbed, empty the pot into a bowl.
into the empty pot, fry black mustard seeds and hot pepper until the mustard seeds make tiny popping sounds. add some water, spices, ginger and garlic, and tamarind concentrate. boil for a few minutes, then add remaining ingredients. salt and black pepper to taste.



tamarind rice

just cook rice as you normally would, adding a bit of tamarind pulp or paste and some leftover spices and cilantro and mint leaves.

top EVERYTHING with fresh mint and cilantro leaves, yogurt or kefir, or a little pat of coconut oil or ghee.

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