Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mung Bean Dal Soup and Garlic Whole Wheat Naan

This blog post of delicious Garlic Whole Wheat Naan and Mung Bean Dal Soup was inspired by a book I just finished. 
Does something you've read ever inspire you? Maybe it's a book that inspires you to try out a new hair style, a new parenting direction, or a new flirting technique?

These are my favorite kind of books... the ones that make you go... "Hummm?... I wonder... "

This time I wondered if I could recreate the tastes of Egypt. And the answer is a resounding "Yes!"

The book I just finished is Red Goddess Rising written by Halle Eavelyn. It's a fantastic read outlining her travels through Egypt. And make no mistake, she hasn't just been to Egypt once, she actually runs a spiritual travel tour group that takes people to Egypt to show them the most ancient and sacred sites. 

So, when I say this is a spiritual guide to Egypt through Halle's eyes, you can assume that her eyes have seen almost everything there is in Egyptian travel. The book takes you through the most famous Egyptian markets to buy classic keepsakes, then to the tombs of King Tut to meditate and chant, and the most famous Egyptian museum and St. Catherine's library as only a few travelers and tourists get to see.

The best thing, in my humble opinion, is that if you want to go and experience what she talks about in the book, all you have to do is visit her website and book a trip and she'll take you! It's amazing and worth every penny. And Egypt isn't the only place she'll take you. Spirit Quest World goes to Bali and China just to name a few others.

I didn't get to travel with Halle on my trip to Egypt, but I was blessed enough to meet her on my plane ride home as the fates arranged for her to stay a few extra days after her tour and sat her right behind me on our flight from Cairo to New York. 

Halle's book is dazzling and my favorite parts are the ones where she describes the huge piles of soft bread puffs (called Naan) and the saffron laced rice, slow cooked stew with curry and cinnamon, and the amazingly tender meats.
The taste of the soft bread puffs we call Naan (or Indian fry bread) and the warm soothing flavors of cumin, curry, and saffron are unparallelled and deliciously soothing as is Red Goddess Rising.

To recreate these flavors all of the spices you will need are in your local grocery store. Including the Garam Masala (found in the spice aisle). 
Plus this Mung Bean Dal Soup is a crock pot recipe making it a cinch. If you can't find Mung Beans you can always substitute some yellow lentils to achieve the same flavor and texture. Not to mention this meal is loaded with health benefits. Check out the Mental Health Benefit section for more information. 
I promise, your house will smell of rich and earthy cumin and curry along with hints of cinnamon and saffron. To these flavors your taste buds will bow. But I beg you, please use the soft puffs of Whole Wheat Garlic Naan to soak up every last drop of the flavorful Mung Bean Dal soup.

If you have a great book that inspired you, please leave a comment! I'd love to find another great read!
Now... on with the recipe!

Dal Soup with Mung Beans
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Large Onion; Chopped
3 tbsp. Minced Garlic
1 Cup Carrots; Chopped
1 Cup Celery; Chopped
1/4 Cup Fresh Ginger; Minced
3 tbsp. Garam Masala
2 tsp. Curry Powder
6 Cups Fat Free Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 Cup Dried Green Mung Beans
1/2 tsp. Salt and Black Pepper
1. Saute oil, onion, garlic, pepper, carrots, and celery over medium heat until all are softened. About 5-7 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garam masala, and curry powder and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until aromas saturate the vegetables.

2. Transfer the sauteed vegetables to a large crock pot and add the chicken broth, and mung beans, and the salt and pepper.

3. Stir everything together and set the crock pot to low and cook for  6-8 hours. The beans will be softened and the soup will have thickened slightly.
4. Serve in large bowls with plenty of Naan for dipping!

Servings: 8

Nutritional Skinny:

215 calories / 2.4 g fat / 36 g carbohydrates / 9.3 g fiber / 14 g protein
Garlic Whole Wheat Naan
1 (.25 ounce) Package Active Dry Yeast
1 3/4 Cup Warm Water
1/4 Cup White Sugar
3 Tablespoons Skim Milk
1 Large Egg, Beaten
2 teaspoons Salt
3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 tbsp. Minced Garlic
1 tbsp. Curry Powder
1 tbsp. Cumin
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. 

2. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and flour. This will make a soft dough. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated and flour is absorbed to create a thick dough.

3. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until the dough is smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
4. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic, curry, and cumin.

5. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
6. At this point you have a choice. If you like soft dough puffs you can throw them in a 350 degree oven and bake them for 30 minutes. Or you can preheat a large saute pan or stove top grill with olive oil cooking spray. Take each ball of dough and roll out until about 1 inch thick. Place dough in saute pan nor on grill and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on a side, or until puffy and lightly browned. Turn over and repeat cooking for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from pan/grill and sprinkle with sea salt and place in a warm oven, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.
7. Serve immediately Mung Bean Dal or use to scoop up a bite of Homemade Garlic Hummus.

Servings: 12 pieces of naan

Nutritional Skinny (per piece):

200 calories /1.7 g fat / 43 g carbohydrates / 4.4 g fiber / 8 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: I could go on and on about how great this meal is for you, but I'll give you the short break down instead. The Dal is loaded with lean vegetable based protein from the mung beans and both the Dal and the naan is loaded with fiber. If you have a bowl of dal with one piece of naan we are talking a whopping 14 grams of fiber! Now that's something to feel good about. Not to mention how good the spices are for your immunity, digestion, and peace of mind. Please make this immediately... please.


Anonymous said...

Awesome blog post, GORGEOUS pics, and perfect recipes! You're less of a Hot Mess and more of a HOT MAMA if you ask me!

Hot Mess Cooking said...

Thanks Dear Friend! You give me belly laughs every time! I'm so happy to hear from you!