Dhal (or you may have seen it written elsewhere as dal, daal, dahl or dhaal!) is a delicious and easy-to-make lentil dish. Don’t be alarmed by the long list of ingredients -some of them can be left out, and most of it is stuff that will be lying around in your kitchen (or maybe I have a weird view of what is in most people’s kitchens!). It’s a really cosy dish to eat, and is really healthy for you (especially if you leave out the knob of butter at the end! but meh!). It’s the perfect meal to heat you up during this ‘Snow-Day’ weather.
Just a quick run through of ingredient alternatives – if you don’t have a large selection of spices on hand, just use a two tsp of curry powder and 1 tsp of any garam masala mix. These can be dry roasted, and as they are both usually powders they obviously don’t need to be ground up further. The black mustard seeds and coconut cream are both optional, but are just something I always have hanging around in my pantry. The coconut adds creaminess and sweetness without having to resort to using too much butter to balance the dish. I used cherry tomatoes because we just had a packet that needed to be used, so substitute with 2-3 tomatoes if you want.
Finally, I added a small knob of butter at the end to really round out the flavours. If however you are vegan, or just plain avoiding butter, add ½ tsp of honey, and some extra coconut cream to balance the flavours. (For those who don’t know, coconut cream can be found in most big supermarkets and Asian markets. It can be melted in hot water to make coconut milk, or just added into dishes to add creaminess instead of using coconut milk from a tin).
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp black pepper corns
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- thumb sized piece of ginger
- juice ½ lemon
- 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup of red lentils
- 4 cups of water
- 1 tsp bullion powder/½ veggie stock cube
- 20 g coconut cream (optional)
- 10 g butter
- handful of fresh coriander
Dry roast the spices together in a hot pan for ~5 min. Then grind together using a pestle and mortar or milling blade on a food processor.
Dry roast black mustard seeds for ~2 min, until they start making popping sounds.
Add in a glug of olive oil and the chopped onion. Turn heat down low and sweat the onions for ~5-10 min, until they are soft and aromatic.
Blend together the garlic, ginger and lemon juice. Add to the onion mixture along with the roasted spice mix and the cherry tomatoes cut into quarters. Cook for a further two min.
Add the lentils, a cup of water and bullion powder and cook on a low heat for ~20 min, stirring occasionally and adding the rest of the water consequentially whenever it’s needed. In the end there should still be some bite to the lentils and it will have a similar consistency to porridge.
Finish with fresh coriander, some coconut cream if you have it, and/or some butter.
Serve with brown or white rice.
Tag @thecorkfork on Instagram to show me your dhal!