Lunch for a number of days

I made lunch for 5 days from three leftovers (from front to back): collard greens, cauliflower dal with panch phoran, and taco meat.

The collard greens were easy to cook. I bought a big bunch of collard greens and a big bunch of mustard greens and washed them in the sink. I cut up some New Braunfel’s Smokehouse bacon into chunks and rendered them in a pot. I then poured a box of beef broth in and cooked the greens until they reduced down.

Susan posted a link to a cauliflower dal with panch phoran and I just had to try it. Panch phoran is a Bengali blend of five spices: fenugreek, mustard, kalonji (nigella), fennel, and cumin, in equal amounts. Fortunately, Teji’s carried both the Panch phoran and the masoor dal (and I was able to find them without help).

If you want a more assertive panch phoran taste, grind an additional 1/2 tablespoon of it and add it during the last 10 minutes of cooking.


  • 1 1/2 cups masoor dal or red lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon canola oil (or canola oil spray)
  • 1 tablespoon panch phoran
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste (or 1 tsp. minced ginger)
  • 16 ounces diced tomatoes (or 1 can)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets)
  • 1/2 cup water


Pick over and rinse the lentils and add them to a pot with the water and turmeric. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the dal is tender, about 20 to 35 minutes. When done, add salt and set aside.

While the dal is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Heat a large, deep skillet, preferably non-stick. When hot, add the canola oil and shake it to spread it around. Add the panch phoran and stir. (You may instead use oil spray; spray before and after adding the panch phoran.) When the first seed pops, immediately add the onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and ginger paste. Stir and cook until the onion softens, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cauliflower, and water, and stir. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes.

When the dal and cauliflower are both done, add the dal to the cauliflower mixture. Stir well, and check seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve hot, over rice if desired.

If you want a more assertive panch phoran taste, grind an additional 1/2 tablespoon of it and add it during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 55 minute(s)

I ran into problems cooking it though. I cooked the dal in a pot without any problems. However, I used my 10 inch skillet which was way too small for the vegetables. In fact, it was too small just to cook the onions alone. I used two onions and sliced them into rings with a mandolin. I should have switched pots but, for some reason, was too stubborn to do it. I made it work in the end though. And it came out tasty enough.

Sadly, I was a little lazy on the third item. I wanted another veggie option, but I was uninspired. So I just used up some taco meat I had sitting in the refrigerator.