Monday, 5 March 2012

Not quite Veg every day - but trying: Vegetable Biryani and Dahl

I made this on Saturday evening. Well, to be honest, I made part of it on Saturday morning - the curry part and the lentil part of the dahl (before you swoosh over the hot spiced oil). Very easy. Which was relief because I was mortally hungover after a night on the wine (always bad) with some girlfriends/colleagues and ended up crawling home at 1.00.

So Saturday morning - I'm not sure what was worse: the crashing tiredness or the headache. The Husband got up, dealt with the children and even volunteered to take them swimming. I felt guilty, so in the end dragged myself out of bed and made myself be productive. I made some pastry to encase a beef casserole (filling was already in the freezer left over from an early pie making) for Sunday lunch, and I also made the veg curry part of the biryani and cooked the lentils for the dahl. How very organised.

I liked the biryani curry. I didn't put any chilli in it because Blue and Pink are liable to mutiny, and I want to get them used to the flavours first, without the heat, and I did up the spices after someone commented on a mumsnet forum that it had seemed a little bland. I also left out the sultanas because I just don't like dried fruit in savoury things. I can do apple and pork, and plum with duck, but anything heading towards the moroccany type of apricots with lamb - or as it turns out sultanas with vegetables - and I just don't like it. Call me fussy, but there we go. Next time I'll use different veg, but for the first time, potatoes, carrots and peas were just fine. Good to give the kids something familiar as a background to try the new flavours.

By the time Saturday evening came the headache had gone and I was just ready for my bed. I cooked the rice as directed (fortunately I'd managed to rinse it and leave it to soak earlier in the day), layered it on top of the curry, and into the oven with a damp tea towel (in case you're interested, the damp teatowel was causing the mumsnetters some concern). I toasted some almonds to sprinkle on top and chopped the mint (some for the curry and some to bash up with sugar and sprinkle over fresh pineapple for pudding - a Jamie Oliver idea. Love it)

Then, big treat, I fried some poppadums. I LOVE doing this: pouring oil into a pan heating it up and adding those big discs so that they instantly expand and pop up. They taste so much better than the pre-popped ones, although probably are full of oil and fat. I remembered I had some tamarind paste in the fridge so made the recommended tamarind raita and served. A huge hit. The kids ate it all - not one complaint about no meat - and there's enough left for us to have as leftovers tomorrow evening, although I think I'll do flatbreads with it rather than frying more poppadums.

But what of the dahl? Well - truth is, I forgot. That's what comes of overdoing it and losing another few brain cells to madame vino of a Friday night. So now it's in the freezer. But I know the kids like it so we'll have it another time. Just need to remember to plan it in somewhere...

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