Urid daal – exploring vegan protein

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Urid daal – exploring vegan protein

My visit to Goa to see my brother has been a perfect time for me to explore and try to cook using different ingredients, especially as my Mum is here with me.

I have been quizzing her about all the herbs, spices and ingredients she used to use to make scrumptious meals when we were growing up. She still cooks the most incredible food; and that's not just me saying it you can ask my friends too! However, like many of us, she had begun to use the ready made packet for convenience and ease! There is nothing wrong with that, as I keep telling, her but I feel like there may be less nutritional value in pre-made packets. She is beginning to see what I mean, because I am showing her the ingredients labels.

I am not vegan and whilst I prefer vegetarian food, I have found that being dairy and wheat intolerant, already limits my choice and being vegetarian added to this makes it impossible for me to eat anywhere other than at home. So I thought I want to explore what options could be available for a vegetarian dairy and wheat and dairy intolerant person. Where would such a person get protein from and what kinds of things could they eat. Surely it must be impossible! Well I am going to find out.

My first quest was for the ingredients to the famous South Indian dish Uthappam. So we start with white Urid daal. Urid daal is a whole black lentil which is used to make Daal Makhani, a classic Punjabi dish which is rich, creamy and delicious. It is normally not eaten for dinner as it is said that it takes longer to digest.
When the daal is split you have two options; one is white with the black husk still in the packet and the other is the plain white daal without the black husk. The later daal is commonly used in South Indian dishes such as Idly, Dosa and Uthappam. These dishes are eaten for breakfast and lunch as well as snacks. The batter is made up of rice and daal, as well as some other ingredients such as fenugreek seeds, which are all allowed to ferment before using. The whole process and the raw ingredients makes for an extremely nutritious food for our gut health as well as protein, fibre and vitamins.

The picture shows a vegan wheat free omelette or pancake I made using this mixture. I stuffed it with raw sweet onions, tomatoes and peppers, but you could add anything and even put spinach in the batter. It takes while to a make but once made can be frozen in batches and also stored in the fridge for a day or two. Once I have perfected the recipe I will share it.

Food facts: The whole black lentil has 25g protein per 100g and is rich source vitamin B6, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. So you vegans out there - get some of these in your diet to access the proteins your body needs.

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