Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Dip, Blended and Bright Green

Is there a mundane life task that, for reasons known only to your subconscious, gives you immense satisfaction? For example, some people are pleased as punch when they can tick items off their to-do list. I know because I am one of them. I also get a strange pleasure from putting leftovers in just the right size Tupperware container. Seriously. And, I love, love, LOVE blending. Something about taking a few flavors that complement each other, giving them a little whizz with the food processor or immersion blender, adding a bit of this or a dash of that, and, of course, consuming the final product…it just fills me with glee. If I ever right a book about food, it will be called Soups, Smoothies, Dips and Other Things You Blend.

That’s why, on a Saturday afternoon, I found myself blending together the ingredients for an Ethiopian dish called atar allecha. Usually served with injera, I made the mixture a little thicker than the recipe called for, added a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavors, and served it as a dip. The color is bright green due to the combination of green split peas and turmeric, and the taste is earthly and wholesome, with a spicy kick.

What a combo: a blended dip and – tick that to-do list! – a post, too. Now, I just need to find a Tupperware to store these leftovers….

Atar Allecha (Ethiopian Spiced Green Spilt Pea Purée)
Adapted from a
widely available Internet recipe

1 cup / 200 grams split green peas
1 tablespoon / 15 milliliters vegetable oil
1/3 cup / 50 grams onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 milliliters turmeric
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 milliliters salt
1 small hot green pepper, seeds removed and minced
Juice of ½ lemon
Chili powder, for garnish

Soak the peas for one hour. Put them in a pot with plenty of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the peas are soft – about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the water. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for five minutes. Add the peas, turmeric, salt, and chili. Mix well. Add ¾ cup of the reserved water, stir and cook for 3-4 minutes. Take off the heat and blend with an immersion blender. Add more reserved water as needed to obtain the dip consistency that you prefer. Add the lemon juice and stir. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with a light dusting of chili powder.


Jeanne said...

Oooh, that sounds wonderful! I am a huge fan of dips made from pulses - this is now going to join white bean dip on my to do list.

And I do believe we share the obsession with ticking things off to do lists ;-) My other current obsession is using up frozen leftovers, and clearing my Google reader of unread posts...

Was listening to your CDs again the other night - thank you :)

Jeanne said...

And I meant to say... ProVita!! Awwww....... :)

Gerri said...

You have some really good stuff up on your blog. I am from africa and want to go back right now and visits the many parts of it I have not been to and try out their cuisine.

Jose said...

Sounds wonderful, I like using up leftovers,hate to throw away good food

Lynnie said...

I just read your post on samp. I lived in South Africa years ago and I've been craving samp and beans. Do you know how I can find it in the US? Thanks

Elana said...

My new favorite things to make are bean or legume dips and soups thanks to my BlendTec that I got from a restaurant equipment store online. I can't wait to try this, as split peas are really good for you.