Fennel Spiced Daal and Brussel Sprouts

The perils of fasting: exhaustion, wonky sleep schedules, possible indigestion from eating so early and so late, abnormally delusional behavior at work, Charlie horses, massive stomach aches and unseemly consequences that render one unable to fast for a day or two…

Oh, those last two aren’t very common, at least not to the level of severity that keeps one from completing her fasts. Ohh but life ain’t a bike ride through the park. More like a merry go round, without the merry and more of an abundance of ups and downs to make your inner self disoriented at best, nauseated at worst. My inner self let my outer self feel that too closely today, which is why I stayed home to weather the after effects. Finding time to rejuvenate my strength, replenish my stomach’s acceptance of food, and banish the pain from a stupid charlie horse (or muscle spasm in the calf for the unawares) that had to hit at the same time.Not one to completely ignore God’s minor gifts amidst gastronomical crises, I at least allowed myself the time to write up one of those whacky experiments I dreamed up during the last few days in our apartment. That’s sincerely what this dish started as, but has since evolved into something kind of funky and cool, with a combination of spices and foods I would not have ever thought appealing. Thankfully I was wrong. I liked this even more the second time I made it, with bhindi (okra) instead of brussel sprouts, but where would we be without sharing the unknown perilous journeys for our peers in the never-ending battle to obtain knowledge and understanding? Fennel was immediately hand that random evening and to date I have used it marginally at best, but honestly it’s been more of a smelling salt than anything else. I decided to put that to rest and voila, this unique but down to earth recipe was born.

I don’t find myself trying this any time soon, but that might be the upset stomach talking. Gosh, as temperamental as a teenager who got her phone taken away. Snap out of it, you petulant organ!

I would recommend you trying this out, if not with brussel sprouts then with another vegetable of choice, like okra or cauliflower or green beans for example.


  • 8 brussel sprouts, steamed fully
  • 1 cup daal (lentil) of choice, cooked, I used toor daal
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • Green chilies, chopped
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste

As noted above, steam the brussel sprouts fully and set aside. If you are using a veggie like okra for example, I would lightly fry it in a smidge of oil and lemon juice to remove all the stickiness and cook it down completely (takes about 8 minutes). Also, separately boil the daal until fully cooked but not mushy, soft but still in distinctly individual grains. Set this aside once done as well.

In a deep frying pan or a pot, add a few tbsp of oil and sauté the onions. Once they turn mildly translucent (after 6-9 minutes) add the garlic and fry another few minutes. Then the cumin seeds, fennel, red chili and turmeric, frying until fragrant (a few minutes). Next, add the chopped tomatoes and let the mixture simmer for a while until the tomato degenerates and oil separates from the tomato.

Add the brussel sprouts and fry in the onion-tomato blend… lastly toss in the daal and stir thoroughly. Mix in salt to taste (I start with ½ tsp and go from there).

Serve with rice or eat with roti/naan/bread…

Try it!



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