Red Lentils Tarka with Raisin Chutney

A warming and soothing vegetarian dish of red lentils seasoned with cumin, asafoetida, garlic and curry leaves, served with lacto-fermented raisin chutney and toasted flatbread..

Red Lentils Tarka with Raisin Chutney

For the Chutney (adapted from a recipe by Sally Fallon)

1 1/2 cups organic raisins, soaked in warm filtered water for 1 hour
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
10 black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon anise seeds
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons whey
1/2 cup filtered water

Place garlic and cilantro in food processor and pulse a few times.  Drain raisins and add to food processor along with peppercorns, red pepper flakes, seeds and ginger.  Pulse a few times until the mixture becomes a coarse paste.  Transfer to a pint-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down lightly with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer.  Mix salt and whey with water and pour into jar.  You may need to poke a few holes in the chutney to allow liquid to percolate through.  Add more water if necessary to cover the chutney.  The top of the chutney should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.  The chutney should be eaten with 2 months.

For the Lentils

1 cup split red lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
3 cups vegetable stock or filtered water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black Tellicherry peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Combine lentils and stock in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Add turmeric, pepper and bay.  Cover and simmer until thick and tender, about 40 minutes.

For the Tarka (adapted from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey)

2 tablespoons ghee
1/3 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry leaves, chopped
1-2 small fresh red chillies, chopped
1 clove garlic, coarsely minced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 plum tomato, chopped

Heat ghee in a heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the asafoetida and let it sizzle for 30 seconds.  Add the cumin and chilies and cook until the chillies begin to get crisp, about 1 minute.  Add onions and cook until browned.  Add tomato and garlic and cook until garlic is browned.  Stir the tarka (including all of the liquid) into the lentils, cover and let stand 5 minutes to combine the flavors.

Serve hot with raisin chutney and toasted flatbread.

This post is in support of Meatless Monday, whose goal it is to goal is to help reduce
meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.

Giveaway: Real Food Must Reads

Congratulations!

The winner of the Real Food Must Reads Giveaway is juliebmorton.

Julie, please email me your shipping info and confirm which book you’d like and I’ll get it sent out right away

renATedibleariaDOTcom

Thank you for participating, everyone!

All the best,

Ren

Kristen the Food Renegade wants to empower people to choose wholesome, healthy, traditional foods.  Towards that end, she  has carefully compiled a list of almost two dozen must reads for the Real Food practitioner..

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and a dozen more..

Are you ready to learn about preparing lacto-fermented sauerkraut, a fresh loaf of sprouted whole grain bread or a glass of kombucha.. to rebel against the dominant food culture and become a food renegade?

If so, simply  go spend some quality time looking around at http://www.foodrenegade.com (including the Must Reads section, of course) then come back here and tell me (using the comment section below) which one of these books you feel will most help you on your way towards  freedom from the Standard American Diet (SAD, for short).

Include a thoughtful reason or two for your selection so that I know your interest is sincere, OK?

I’ll choose one eligible entry at random, order the winner’s book of choice from The Food Renegade’s store and ship it to  any U.S. (only, sorry) address.

Contest ends September 4, 2009.


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Giveaway: Nourishing Traditions, Wild Fermentation

We have a winner!

Congratulations, Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship! Please send your shipping info to “ren AT ediblearia DOT com” and UPS should be ringing your doorbell in a couple of days.

Thank you all for participating, and be sure to check back soon for details on the next giveaway!

ps  I’d love to hear any ideas you might have for the next giveaway.  Thanks, everyone!

Unfortunately, fermented foods have largely disappeared from the western diet, much to the detriment of our health and economy. For fermented foods are a powerful aid to digestion and a protection against disease; and because fermentation is, by nature, an artisanal process, the disappearance of fermented foods has hastened the centralization and industrialization of our food supply, to the detriment of small farms and local economies.

So wrote Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions in the forward to Sandor Katz’ Wild Fermentation.

Fallon concludes by saying “Wild Fermentation represents not only an effort to bring back from oblivion these treasured processes, but also a road map to a better world, a world of healthy people and equitable economies, a world that especially values those iconoclastic, free-thinking individuals—so often labeled misfits—uniquely qualified to perform the alchemy of fermented foods.”

Fallon and Katz have both had a huge impact on the way that I  eat.  Indeed, it is their/your/our good old ways and modern science that underlay much of what I try to share here from day to day.  I know, some days are better than others, right?

OK, here’s the deal.  I feel strongly enough about the healing and nourishing power of traditional foods (that which Michael Pollan describes as food that our great grandmothers would recognize) that I’m going to send a copy of either Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions or Katz’ Wild Fermentation to one of you.  But first, you have to go on a little scavenger hunt.  Nothing too involved, but enough to let me know that your interest is sincere.  Cool?

To participate, just go spend some time looking around at either http://www.westonaprice.org/ or http://www.wildfermentation.com/, then come back here and tell me (using the comment section below) something that you want everyone to know about fermentation.  Dig around- there’s a lot of information out there!

I’ll choose one eligible entry at random, and ship the book to the winner at  any U.S. (only, sorry) address.  Contest ends in 1 week.

This post is part of the Real Food Wednesdays Blog Carnival

Compound Tomato Sauce (lacto-fermented ketchup)

Also see updated recipe here

Adapted from a recipe in The First African-American Cookbook from 1881 using a method described by Sally Fallon, this is a rich, thick  fermented (rather than cooked) ketchup.  I left out the high fructose corn syrup, in case you feel like calling the food police..

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1 1/2 cups organic tomato paste (or make your own)
1/8 cup whey
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (optional)
1/8 cup fermented fish sauce OR 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Grind dry ingredients together in a spice grinder or mortar.  Add to the rest of the ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and stir well to combine.

Add filtered water, if necessary, to achieve the thickness that you prefer.

Transfer ketchup to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and allow to sit at room temperature for 48-72 hours before transferring to refrigerator for long-term storage.


(Actually) Crispy Sweet Potato Fries. Mostly.

You might also like these Rosemary & Black Pepper Sweet Potato Fries..

“There’s probably no vegetable with a higher beta carotene content than the sweet potato.  This is the beta carotene that protects us against cancer, colds, infections and other diseases… But remember that our bodies can only convert carotene to vitamin A in the presence of bile salts… Butter stimulates the secretion of bile and helps the body to convert carotenes to all-important vitamin A…”   Sally Fallon

Trouble is, butter has a low smoke point of about 350 degrees.  Clarified butter (or ghee) on the other hand, has a very high smoke point of up to 485 degrees.

No mushy oven fries here, gang..

Adapted from a recipe by Mollie Katzen

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into 1/4″ sticks and arrange on a parchment paper lined baking sheet with 1 tablespoon melted ghee or clarified butter.  Just put the butter on the pan- don’t coat the potatoes with it.

Place into a preheated 385 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Turn potatoes over and cook another 10 minutes.

Turn oven off and let stand 20 minutes to dry.  Season with sea salt and serve with homemade ketchup and enjoy all the iron, potassium, niacin, magnesium and vitamins C and B6.  And fiber.  Lots of fiber.

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