Sunday Dinner

Today the Saint’s crushed the Cardinals. WHO DAT!!

In celebration, not that anyone needs an excuse to drink in New Orleans, I made myself a very nice drink to go with the leftover Tadka Dal I made yesterday. I didn’t think my Tadka Dal had turned out that great because I used yellow split peas instead of yellow lentils, but upon rewarming it today, it was perfect! I think using brown rice instead of white rice was actually made me not enjoy it as much yesterday. Today I ditched the rice and just ate the stew. All that was missing was some naan. Anyway, the heat from the dal made me want something fresh to drink, hence the wonderful drink I made next.

Today I got fresh basil in my Hollygrove Box. I love basil, but I always manage to let it go bad before I use all of it, not thinking to just dry it and bag it. (This time I forwent the refrigerator and just put it in a glass of water on my counter.) So after googling ingredients, I stumbled upon a great recipe that went really well with the second bowl of dal I had.


Gin-Basil Smash

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2/3 oz simple syrup
  • 3 oz gin (I used Bombay since that’s what I had, but really I prefer Hendricks)

Stuff the basil into a cocktail shaker, followed by the lemon. Muddle the lemon and the basil, smashing the ingredients and squeezing the lemon.

Add simple syrup, mix. Taste on the back of your hand to make sure you’ve nailed the proper balance of sweet and sour.

Fill shaker with ice, top with gin. Shake vigorously until very cold — about 30 or so seconds. A good rule of thumb is to stop when the shaker begins to frost over and it’s almost too painfully cold to hold. Double-strain into a rocks glass filled with ice, squeezing every bit if liquid through a fine mesh strainer with a bar spoon.

Give the glass a stir and add more ice if necessary. Garnish with another basil leaf.


Tadka Dal


  • 1/2 cup split red lentils (masoor dal)
  • 1/2 cup yellow moong dal (split mung beans) OR yellow split peas OR additional red lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped (set aside other half)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger root, minced (I used ground ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (I used ground cumin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala plus more to taste (I didn’t have garam masala, so I sauteed some cloves, cardamom pods, and whole black peppercorn, and then added cinnamon to the mixture)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)


  1. Sautee whole cloves, cardamom pods, and black peppercorn in some olive oil. If you have cumin seeds and a cinnamon stick, then add them as well (If you have garam masala, then just sautee the cumin seed until fragrant)
  2. Add the onions and allow them to get tender
  3. Add the tomato and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes
  4. Then add the water and lentils/split peas and the remaining spices and cook until the lentils soften
  5. Check the seasoning and add additional salt and other spices to taste