I always try to include veggies in any meal I can. By include, I mean I have a large serving of vegetables. This actually helps me to keep the portion size of the rice/bread in control because I feel so full just with the sides 🙂 Apart from just serving sides with rice, you can get creative and serve it in multiple ways!
I am writing this post with a dual purpose – firstly, I want to share the recipe of a really simple, flavorful side packed with veggies and lentils. Along with that I wanted to share how I dressed it up in three ways!
1 cup toor dal(split pigeon peas)
- 500 grams of mixed veggies ( I used about 150 grams green beans, 150 grams broccoli, 100 grams of spinach and 1 medium sized capsicum/green pepper) – you can mix and match the veggies
- 4 dried red chillies ( The ones I used were not spicy at all – adjust this to taste)
- a big pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- 1 tsp oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- Salt to taste
- juice from 1 lemon ( optional – to get a tangy taste)
Preparation Time: 2 hour(soaking time)
Cooking Time: 40 min
- Wash the lentils thoroughly a couple of times in cold water. Soak it in 2 cups of water for about 2 hours. While the lentils are soaking, chop the veggies finely.
- Once the lentils are soaked, the lentils will be little soft. Drain the water. Add the lentils to a mixer/blender. Add the chillies and hing, use minimum water and blend the mixture coarsely. It should not be a paste.
- I used a steamer to steam the lentils and veggies. Take a steamer and fill it half way with water. Heat the steamer on medium heat till the water comes to a boil. Place the lentils in a vessel and place it in the steamer. I sprinkled some salt on the veggies and placed them in a plate over the lentils. Alternately, you can cook the veggies in a separate pan on stovetop too. (If using a pressure cooker, follow the same procedure – no need to put the weight on the cooker).
- Close the steamer lid and let the lentils/veggies cook. The veggies will get done faster, you can remove them after about 10 min. The lentils will take about 25-30 minutes to cook. Once cooked, they will be much softer than before. Let the lentils cool a little, then crumble the mixture well.
- Take a medium sized saucepan. Heat 1 tsp oil in it. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Let the mustard seeds crackle. Then add the lentil mixture and veggies. Sprinkle some water and mix everything well. Add salt to taste. Sprinkle more water if you feel the mixture is dry. If you feel the curry needs some spice, add chilli powder to taste.
- Let the mixture cook for a couple of minutes. Keep stirring. Then, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice, if you like the curry to be tangy. Serve hot as a side for rice/quinoa or Indian bread/rotis. The Notes section also contains some great serving suggestions 🙂
- To use it as a spread for sandwich – toast 2 slices of your favorite bread. On one slice, spread one tbsp of this veggie mixture uniformly. (For this, the curry should not be too dry. Sprinkle some water while cooking.) Sprinkle some chillie flakes on this veggie mixture for added taste. On the other slice of bread spread your favorite chutney – I used spicy cilantro chutney on mine! Place the two slices together and serve this sandwich for a great morning breakfast or evening snack.
- I also used this to make patties. Again for this, there should be some moisture in the curry. Once the curry cools down, add any of your favorite herbs or spices to the lentil mixture. Take about 2 tbsps of the mixture and shape it into a mini-patty. Large sized patties may not hold well. Heat a skillet on medium heat. Spread 1tsp oil on it. Place the patties and let them brown slightly on both sides. Serve with your favorite chutneys/dips. This serves as a great protein packed quick snack/appetizer.
- This vegetable curry can be served as is like a tea-time snack/chaat. For that, add about 4 tbsps of veggie-lentils curry in a serving bowl. Drizzle some date-tamarind chutney and mint chutney. Top this with some toasted peanuts and finely chopped onions and cilantro. Also sprinkle some spices like cumin powder, chilli powder or garam masala for added taste.