I have in my possession a very special recipe for dal, specifically, Guy Donahaye’s dal. Dal is an Indian stew-like dish made from lentils (although it seems from my research that it can be made with other legumes, like, for example, mung beans (which tastes really good and has a nice consistency, despite the awful-sounding name).
This is the dal that Guy made for us and showed us how to make during Yoga Shala Summer Camp and which we ate with nearly every meal that weekend in support of our yoga practice (I believe that it is not only high in protein, free of animal products – unless made with butter instead of olive oil, high in fiber and alkalyne-enhancing, it is also tryodoshic – which means that it helps to balance the three doshas, which in turn means that it will enhance one’s well-being no matter what their constitution, whether pitta, vata or kapha or some combination thereof).
With Guy’s permission, I am reprinting it here:
Ingredients (these are not exact but are close estimations):
1 cup red split lentils
3 large cloves garlic – finely chopped
Fresh ginger – finely grated – same amount as garlic
Dried cilantro seeds (coriander) – 2 teaspoons
20 cardamon pods
Cumin – 1/2 teaspoon
Fennel seeds – 1 teaspoon
Dried Basil – 1 tsp
Dried Ooregano – 1 tsp
1 large or 2 small cinnamon sticks
2 tsp butter/olive oil
1/4 lb coconut (Guy says that creamed is best, but I couldn’t find that….I would add that unsweetened coconut is advisable)
2 tablespoons Miso
Black pepper to taste
Fresh Cilantro (including the stems for a brighter aspect)
Gently fry (low heat) the oil, garlic, lentils and dried herbs/spices (not the cinnamon or cardamon), stirring so they do not burn. Once garlic has melted gradually add water (around 4 cups) and bring to the boil. Add miso (dissolve miso in hot water first), cardamon, ginger and cinnamon. (If you cant find whole cardamon pods you can use ground cardamon, but if you have the whole pods its better to cook the whole and then take them out at the end).
Reduce to a simmer and keep stirring periodically to make sure that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Keep adding water as needed, bearing in mind that the longer it cooks, the better it tastes, and adding water will allow it to cook for longer. After half an hour add coconut (if dessicated add earlier). Once lentils dissolve (around 45 mins) remove from heat, remove cinamon sticks and cardamon pods, add cracked black pepper and chopped fresh cilantro (lots), and serve.
Over dinner on the Saturday night of Summer Camp, Guy told us that traditional dietary wisdom holds that the proper amount to consume in a day is 32 handfuls of food. The sarcastic and silly amongst us interrupted our discussion of the latest antics of Brangelina and TomKat long enough to scoff at the notion. “32 handfuls? How big is the hand?!” But Guy and Lori explained that one’s own hand determines the size of the handful, and that by “handful”, what is really meant is a handful-sized scoop of food taken with a bit of chapati. Ahhhh. Now that made more sense. And Since my hands are freakishly small, the 32-handfuls way of eating would no-doubt reduce the size of my thighs to something I could easily get my arms around in…what else….the obsession…Supta K.
I am practicing by myself again today. It is simply too too too too too too too too too hot for me to practice amongst other heat-producing, ujayii-breathing, oxygen-sucking humans. But as I said, I am pracicing by myself. And I better do it soon. Because at 12:15, I have a class to teach, and I’d like to get some of those citta vrittis quieted down by then. Always a good idea to practice before teaching. I learned that at Om, and it might be the one really, really, really worthwhile “rule” that actually resonated with me.