11 January 2017

Catching up with old friends

My friend Pete had a Monday evening off, and it was a flimsy excuse (but a good enough one for us!) to get together. He's the one who took the lovely picture of the food. Go say hi to him. He's a cool vegan guy. I suggested we get together for dinner. Mikeypod realised that he was also free on Monday night, and said he could come as well. Perfect.
cucumber and tomato salad, garlic sesame broccoli, red lentil daal on brown basmati rice, green beans curry
Photo Credit: Peter Teoh https://plus.google.com/+PeterTeoh

It's been a long time since we got together. Between scheduling and work, it's been almost impossible to coordinate a time when we can all hang out and eat. I knew that the meal had to be good and filling, while still tasting amazing. Pete had some green beans, broccoli, and red lentils. He also had  box of those campari tomatoes. They taste good all by themselves. 

I brought over the brown rice and the cucumbers. I generally dislike brown rice, but in the hands of people who know how to cook it properly, I quite like it. I especially like it if I have some kind of stew to pour over it. That way the texture isn't quite as much of a turn-off. 

The red lentils were a basic daal: mustard seed, cumin seed, sesame seed, turmeric, onion, garlic, and ginger. I fried some dried red chilies, but that's an optional step. You can skip it, or add it directly to the tarka, and it'll still be fine. Pete made the brown rice. He is without a doubt one of the people who is good at making brown rice. 

The broccoli was super simple. I peeled the stems and cut the florets into long pieces with the long stems attached. I blanched it in boiling water for about a minute or two. I drained off the boiling water, and rinsed it under cold running water. I then fried some garlic and sesame seeds in hot oil, and tossed the cold broccoli in that mixture with a bit of salt. I did this last step just before Mike arrived, so that it'd be hot off the stove. 

The green beans are a typical South Indian preparation. You chop them into small pieces, and stir fry them with a tarka made of mustard seeds, asafoetida, and sesame seeds. I didn't have any urad daal or curry leaves, so I skipped it. I didn't have any fresh grated coconut, so I skipped that as well. 

The salad is a basic combination of cucumber, tomato, onion, lemon juice, and cilantro. Since all three of us like cilantro, I put lots of it in. If you don't like cilantro, try basil instead. It's equally delicious. 

I think all three of us had second helpings of everything, because it all came out so well. I had help, so the whole thing took about 45 minutes to make.