For the past few weekends now, Desi has been a man with a mission: a mission to watch just about every version from everywhere around the world there is of the Pharrell Williams song, Happy.
And guess who gets to watch these videos with him? I love the song, mind you, because deep down under my cynical exterior is a die-hard optimist who believes that the sunshine’s just waiting to burst out from behind every gray cloud. But, I’d grumble to him, I’d rather do something more fun with my Sunday afternoon. Like watch a Brit mystery where people in picture-perfect settings do horrible things to each other.
Over time, though, I started to get hooked. It is fun, really, watching people from all around the world get carried away on the wings of a song, like hot air balloons floating into space. Ahem. And there’s something magical and uplifting about watching people from every corner of the globe enjoy the same song and dance the same way and realize that, in the end, we are really no different from each other.
I was feeling particularly sunny yesterday — and happy — after I made this warm, delicious Moroccan Lentil Stew with Spring Greens and Mint.
Moroccan food makes me happy. Really, it’s that simple. Maybe it’s the coriander and the cumin– two of my favorite spices — or maybe it’s that amazing Harissa, a paste of chilies and spices that stirs magic into many Moroccan recipes, including this mindblowing chickpea stew I had shared with you way back when.
I almost always have a jar of Harissa sitting in my refrigerator, and I make it with just about any chili I have on hand, and sometimes with a mix of chilies. If you are particularly sensitive to heat, make it with milder chile peppers, like ancho. If you like the heat, try a fiery chile like arbol. Either way, you will end up with delicious.
This is my second lentil recipe this week and I won’t apologize for being repetitive because, really, there is no way one can get repetitive with lentils. The flavors of the sambar I shared with you last week and this stew couldn’t be more apart. And the mint, a very spring-y touch, takes this recipe from excellent to divine.
- ¾ cup pink lentils (masoor dal)
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp Harissa paste. Recipe here: http://holycowvegan.net/2008/09/moroccan-chickpea-stew.html
- 1 tsp olive oil or other vegetable oil
- 6 cups chopped spring greens (use spinach or baby kale for a variation)
- ¼ cup chopped mint
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt to taste
- Heat the oil in a saucepan.
- Add the onions, saute until the edges start to brown, then add the garlic.
- Saute for a few seconds, then add tomatoes, coriander powder and cumin powder.
- Saute until the tomatoes thicken and turn darker, about five minutes.
- Add the lentils and stir to mix.
- Add enough water to cover the lentils by half an inch. Bring to a boil, then cover with a tight lid, lower heat to a simmer, and cook until the lentils are really soft, about 20-30 minutes.
- Stir in the spring greens and the Harissa paste. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil and let the stew cook another five minutes.
- Turn off the heat, add the mint and lemon juice, and check salt.
- Serve hot with some couscous, bulgur, or brown rice.
A big hug to everyone for standing by me while my blog went through some crazy swings over this past weekend. It was down for nearly three days because of an error made by Bluehost which hosts the blog — an experience that left me sick with worry that seven years’ of work had gone down the drain. Luckily, it hadn’t. With help from my nephew in India, Raman, who jumped in with his expertise, I have the blog back up and running again. Thanks, Raman, and thanks to all of you.