This was a success — Very Simple Dal Palak. I’m not sure how authentic it is, but I can tell you it was delicious.
I cut the recipe in half (as written it serves 8), cooked up a cup of brown rice* (to yield 3 cups cooked) and got 5 servings out of it. My modifications were to use regular lentils instead of red, to omit the mushrooms since I don’t like them, and to use frozen spinach in place of fresh (it’s just going to wilt anyway, so I saw no reason to shell out for fresh spinach). I went a little heavy on the ginger, and I opted to use vegetable stock where it calls for broth or water.
This wasn’t necessarily a fast dish to put together, but it was pretty straightforward. I think it’d be a fantastic to bring to a potluck or serve at a party — it kept well in the fridge and reheated beautifully in the microwave. (You could probably also reheat it on the stove top, though you’d probably want to add a little water so the bottom didn’t scorch.) I’m also willing to bet that it freezes well, so this may be added to my repertoire of things I make in large quantities before all hell breaks loose at the library in late September/early February.
*A note on the rice: I have been cooking my rice in what probably seems like a very odd manner, but it works for me. I could never seem to get the heat low enough to cook rice so that it was a) cooked through and b) not stuck to the bottom of the pot. So, cooking rice was an annoying task that took more of my focus than I felt it was worth. (I didn’t want to spend money on a rice cooker.) Then I ran into a blog post somewhere (can’t find it now) where the author talked about cooking rice as if you were making pasta.
Dump your uncooked rice in a pot, cover it over with a fair amount of water (you want to use more than the directions on the package call for — give it room to move around), and bring it to a boil. Then simmer it, occasionally checking to see if it is done by tasting a few grains. When you’re happy with the done-ness, strain off the water and put the rice back in the warm pot. Cover it and let it sit for a few minutes to steam a bit, then fluff it up and you are good to go. This has worked beautifully for me, in quantities ranging from enough for a single serving to enough to make 3 cups cooked, as I did for this dish.