Warm and nourishing lentil dhal (tarka dhal)
This is a really simple stew. You can add stuff or take stuff away, but in my opinion its pretty darn good as it is. I've never really been hugely into dhal. Maybe its because I used to by own brand tins of it for 17p when I was first living in London and broke.
When I was in India, I tried the real deal... and WOW. It changed my life. OK it didn't change my life but it changed the way I felt about dhal! I wondered how such a simple dish could pack so much flavour. Inspired by the amazing flavours of Goa, I tried making my own version. I mean lets face it, its never going to compare to the incredible taste sensations I had in India, but this is satisfying, wholesome, simple, cheap and a big batch can last you a week. It's also very versatile so it can be changed up to suit different tastes.
My recipe is spicy and slightly sweet, great for warming yourself up in these chilly autumn months.
Serves 4 with left overs
Heaped tablespoon coconut oil
2 x cans cooked green lentils, drained
1 veggie stock cube
1 x can chopped tomatoes
2 x small sweet potato or 1 x large, diced into small chunks
1 large white onion, finely diced
1 thumb sized peice of ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
Big handful baby spinach
2 x heaped tablespoon curry powder
Fresh chilli to taste - I use 2 whole red chillies finely chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
coconut milk or natural yogurt to serve
big fat pinch of salt and pepper to taste
In a large, deep non stick pan heat a hefty tablespoon of coconut oil
Soften the onions, ginger and garlic, then add the dry spices and chilli and fry on a medium heat until you can really start to smell the spice aromas - about 3 minutes
Add the sweet potato, tomatoes, stock cube and lentils then top up with hot water so that its just covering the ingredients. Stir gently, cover and simmer on low heat for 25 minutes
Taste, season liberally, toss in the spinach and wilt.
Serve with my home made whole grain flat bread (recipe coming soon) and a big fat dollop of coconut yogurt.