How crazy is it that it is already November? I am over here thinking about where I was a year ago, or rather who I was, and I must say that I am quite pleased with my self-growth. Sometimes I try not to think about it too much because it feels like a bubble and if I focus too hard, it might pop and I will be like wait, ahhh I have all this anxiety in my life! And all these things I should be doing! And I need to make a dentist appointment!… So on and so forth. But all in all, this year I learned to let go of a lot of baggage, live in the present and make time for myself. Every day is its own success story and if I have a bad day and everything feels like it’s going to the dogs and I need a good shower cry (because that’s a real thing- use sparingly), well, oh well, do it better tomorrow. Don’t try to do better, just do better. The cool part is that there is still a month and a half left in 2017, forty-five days to absolutely kill it.
Part of my self-growth revolves around taking better care of myself. Take vitamins and a daily probiotic. Exercise. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink (as much). Get up early and be productive. Eat healthy (most of the time) and take better care of my skin.
As the weather gets colder, I actually find it easier to eat healthy. I love making cold-weather soup with lots of vegetables and spices so that underneath my 50 layers of shirts and sweaters and scarves and hats, I feel healthy and glow-y. I make it a priority to make sure that my skin is also healthy and glowing, especially as the air gets cold and dry. The dal I made this week has lots of yummy ingredients that also happen to show your skin a lot of love! Win-win! Some of the notable ingredients are kale, ginger and turmeric. Are you totally swooning, yet?
One of my favorite leafy greens is kale. Kale salad, kale smoothies, kale chips, kale everything. And wilted kale in soup, oh my gosh, just forget about it! Absolutely delicious and not to mention it adds color and makes your soup look really pretty… Kale is low calorie, high in fiber content and totally packed with vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is so important for your skin; inadequate vitamin A will leave your skin dry, flaky and feeling sad. Vitamin C helps protect your skin from premature aging and keeps you looking young for longer! I added Kale to my dal because I love it and it adds some fresh color. (source)
Another one of my favorite ingredients is ginger. That spicy, woodsy aroma gives your dish that extra boost that just cannot be achieved by any other ingredient, I especially love to add ginger into spicy dishes. Besides being just oh so lovely, ginger has lots of health benefits. It is known to flush out toxins and kill bacteria, which can lead to a stronger immune system! I don’t know about you, but when the weather gets cold, I have to fight off sickness like it’s my job! Once I catch something, it is a domino effect of illnesses until spring. Besides boosting your immune system, ginger also has skincare benefits, such as clearing up rashes and acne. So, give your skin and your immune system extra care this autumn and eat (or drink) your ginger. (source)
And the queen of spices, drum roll please, turmeric! Just to name a few health benefits, turmeric is full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant components, helps to correct oily skin, protects against sun damage, and has anti-aging elements that keeps your skin looking young and beautiful! Turmeric is even known to prevent skin cancer and treat chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. You can buy turmeric in capsule form or as a topical use, OR as a spice and add it to your food, um, yes. Combining turmeric with black pepper or a healthy fat, such as coconut oil, improves absorption. Sadly, cooking turmeric decreases its effects dramatically, add turmeric to your recipe after the heat process to maximize its potential. (source)
These are just a few of the ingredients I used in the Kale Dal I made this week and I am so excited to share the recipe with you! One of my favorite things to do is to go around Chicago and check out international markets and grocery stores. The items you find are awesome and really get you thinking about different dishes to experiment! If you don’t have all the ingredients and you don’t want to go searching, you can use substitutes. For example, if you do not have Kashmiri pepper, you can use a combination of cayenne and paprika. If you do not have Toori Dal, you can use yellow split peas!
I never made Dal before this week, but in the spirit of self-growth and change, I wanted to branch out and try something new! I was nervous about the outcome, but it turned out fantastic and my family and I very much enjoyed it. The fragrant spices and bright golden color makes this recipe the perfect pick-me-up on a dreary Autumn evening.
Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make your Dal:
Spices: mustard seed, cumin seed, salt, Kashmiri pepper, turmeric, coriander
Fresh stuff: garlic cloves, ginger, jalapeno, yellow onion, Lacinato or dinosaur kale
Other stuff: coconut oil, diced tomatoes, Toori Dal or yellow split peas, water
Soak the peas in water overnight. If you forget to do this, you can soak them for just a couple of hours, which may increase your cook time.
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in your oil. I used coconut oil in my recipe. Coconut oil has a higher smoking point than olive oil. Once an oil starts to smoke, it loses its health benefits! So, higher smoke point, takes longer to smoke, more health benefits. Win. Win. Win. Also, since we are using turmeric, the good fats from the coconut oil increases the absorbency of the turmeric benefits in your system. Once the oil is hot, add in mustard seeds and cumin seeds. These will cook fast so you just need to cook them for a couple of seconds before adding in the next ingredients. Seriously, have the next ingredients ready to go.
Add prepared onion, jalapeno, garlic and ginger along with the salt, turmeric, coriander, and Kashmiri pepper. You can use Cayenne pepper instead of Kashmiri or a blend of Cayenne and Paprika! Cook for about 5 minutes.
Drain the tomatoes and add them to the pot. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Using the back of a spoon or a masher, breakdown the tomatoes a bit. You don’t really have to do this but it adds to the texture. (Also, be careful not to make spatters because you might get jalapeno in your eye… just saying…).
Drain and rinse your soaked peas. Add the 3 ½ cups of water and drained peas to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. You want to keep a low boil going for about 30 minutes, until the peas are soft enough to smash. You may need to cook longer, depending on how long you soaked the peas.
Now use a whisk to macerate the peas. You can definitely leave some of the peas whole, but smashing a good amount of them will give you a smoother texture. Another options is to remove ¾ cup and pulse in a blender for a few seconds. Or even better, use an immersion blender and pulse 3-4 times to break up the peas. Don’t overdo it, you don’t want a bisque.
Add in the kale and cook until it is nice and wilt-y. This does not take too long, about five minutes. Usually what I do is just turn off the heat and add in my greens while the contents are still hot, stir to combine and cover the pot with a lid until I am ready to serve it. All done!
Serve this up with jasmine or basmati rice and your favorite naan recipe. Also check out MY favorite naan recipe here.
Here is the detailed recipe, please try it and add your own magic touches!
Lacinato Kale Dal
Prep time: 15 minutes + 2 hours
Cook time: 45 minutes
1 cup of pre-soaked Toor Dal or yellow split peas
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 Jalapenos, seeded and diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1-inch fresh ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Turmeric
½ teaspoon Coriander
¼ tsp Kashmiri or Cayenne pepper
3 ½ cups water
1 bunch of fresh lacinato kale
- Soak the peas in water for two hours or overnight.
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and cumin and cook quickly- only for about 10 seconds. Then add the jalapenos, onions, ginger, garlic, salt, turmeric, coriander and Kashmiri pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Breakdown the tomatoes a bit with the back of a spoon.
- Drain and rinse the peas. Add water and drained peas to pot and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to medium or medium low and keep the soup at a low boil for 20-30 minutes, until the peas are soft. Use a whisk to mash the peas. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender and pulse the soup 3 or 4 times to mash it a bit. Do not over-pulse.
- Stem and chop the kale and add it to the pot. Cook until kale starts to wilt. Serve hot with fresh naan and basmati rice.