Oh my gosh do I love Indian food. The unique flavors and spices are unlike any other cuisine and they instantly make me so happy. Although Indian food may be intimidating to some, I find that once you experiment and learn some of the foundational spices used, you can really very easily make many of your favorite dishes at home.
This particular classic Indian dish is one of my favorites when I order at restaurants and although it is traditionally a butter based tomato sauce with heavy cream, most places will substitute the coconut milk for the cream and leave out the butter, if you are dairy-free or vegan. The name Makhani isn’t exactly accurate without the butter, since Makhan literally means butter and we are leaving it out here, but for the sake of being an alternative to the traditional recipe, I kept the name the same. I personally think it is just as good this way, if not better.
This creamy aromatic tomato sauce is great as is, it is amazing over basmati, jasmine or brown rice or you could even try it over cauliflower rice, if you are grain-free. I do think if I made this again, I may add a bit more coconut milk to make it even creamier, but it really is delicious just as it is.
What is your favorite Indian dish?
[print_this]Lentil Mahkani with Potatoes and Spinach (Dal Aloo Palak Makhani) – Gluten-free and Vegan
3 tablespoons ghee, olive oil or coconut oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1- inch nub of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced or grated
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
14 ounces crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 lb organic potatoes, cubed ( I left the peel on, but you can peel if you’d prefer)
2 cups cooked lentils
3 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup, coconut milk (traditionally heavy cream is used)
3 tbsp butter or ghee, optional but obviously not vegan
Top with fresh cilantro
In a large pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil. Cook the cumin seeds until they just start to brown and dance around in the pan, about 1 minute. Add the ginger, garlic, and onion. Sauté 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, salt, tomatoes and water. Give it all a good stir to combine, add the potatoes. Cook for about 15 – 20 minutes until the potatoes are barely tender. Add the lentils and cook another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are done.
Just before serving add the baby spinach and coconut milk (or heavy cream). Stir to incorporate the coconut milk and allow the sauce to simmer a few minutes to wilt the spinach. If you are adding butter, add just before serving.
Serve over rice and top with fresh cilantro.[/print_this]