Monday, March 18, 2019

Red Lentil Dahl

I've recently had a not so great realization that some of my favourite recipes, the ones that I've created myself and am the most proud of, often never make it to the blog. You would think I would be excited to share something that I'm proud of and want others to experience the joys of as well, but the fear of having my post not live up to the recipe that I am so proud of often stands in the way. 

Whether it's saying to myself "I'll post it next time when I get a better photo" or not feeling like I have the perfect story to tell before the recipe that will make the dish resonate with people, there's always road blocks that I put in my own way that prevent me from moving forward. 

There's something so much safer about putting a photo or a short story on my Instagram, for instance. On Instagram I have the option to let my photo expire after 24 hours, or put it in my grid, where it will inevitably get buried and be forgotten. Why does it feel safer sometimes to be forgotten? Why is there this constant push and pull within myself, between wanting to shine a light on my interests and passions and wanting to hide them away just for myself? It always comes down to fear; fear of not being good enough, fear of not living up to expectations that I have of myself or that others have of me, and fear of putting myself out there and trying and still maybe failing. 

Even though I was scared to sit down and write this today, I did it. Even though I was scared to write about fear in a post about Red Lentil Dahl, worried that people would wonder "what the hell does this have to do with dinner?" I did it anyway. Even though the photo I took was a quick, un-styled capture before I hungrily dove into my bowl, I posted it anyway. Even though I know that I can take a better photo or style a better bowl, I gave myself permission to not be perfect. Even though I'm worried that people may not think my recipe is authentic, I remind myself that I never claimed that it was, and it's delicious nonetheless. Even though I'm scared for people to read this and think that I'm weak for having these fears, I know the only way to move past them is to expose them and fight through them. I face my silly fears today because it will make them a little less powerful tomorrow. 

Red Lentil Dahl
This is one of my favourite go-to recipes for the mid-week rush! I love that this recipe is so quick and simple to prepare, and it also always results in leftovers for lunch the next day, as well as some to freeze for future emergency dinners! If you want this recipe to really go speedy, prep your mise-en-place in the morning, so everything is chopped, measured, and ready to go when it's time to get dinner on the table. 

4 medium garlic cloves, small dice
1 Tbsp ginger, small dice
1-3 thai red chillies 
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mustard seed
3/4 tsp whole cumin seed
2 small onions, small dice
pinch baking soda
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric 
1 tsp garam masala
1 can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 can (400 mL) coconut milk
1 cup red lentils

  1. Bash the garlic cloves, ginger, red chillies, and lemon juice in a pestle and mortar until it forms a loose paste. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot set to medium heat, add vegetable oil, mustard seeds, and cumin seeds. Cook until spices begin to sizzle and pop.
  3. Add onion and pinch of baking soda. Cook, stirring frequently, deglazing with a splash of water every few minutes until mixture is deep brown and very fragrant, about 10-minutes. 
  4. Add the garlic and ginger paste and cook for 1-minute.
  5. Add tomatoes, coconut milk and lentils and stir to combine. Season with salt. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  6. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice. 
Listening To:
Maggie Rogers - Back in My Body