It’s not a difficult dish to make, but there are many, many recipes out there for dahl. I think however, we’ve found the perfect recipe, because of the balance of flavours and texture. I found it on this website, but the author of the recipes/blogs goes into so much detail that the recipes ad ingredients are almost lost and it involves a lot of scrolling and clicking away from adverts, so I’ve posted the essentials below, if you want to test out this dahl.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil or coconut oil
- 2 onions diced
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and grated
- ½ finely chopped red chilli (or ½ tsp dried chilli flakes)
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 cup (200g) dried red lentils, uncooked (rinsed and drained)
- 1 can (14oz/400ml) chopped tomatoes or passata
- 1 can (14oz/400ml) coconut milk
- 500ml vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 handfuls fresh spinach washed
- Fresh coriander to garnish
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and red chilli and cook for a few minutes.
Grind the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds lightly in a pestle and mortar, then add to the pan, along with the turmeric and garam masala and cook for 1 minute.
Add the lentils, tomatoes with their juice, coconut milk and stock, then stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and cook on a medium/low heat for 15-20 minutes until reduced and thick. If you have time, you can leave it a little longer on a very low heat for even more flavor (just stir often and check it doesn’t scorch on the bottom of the pan).Taste and add more chilli if desired.
Stir in the lemon juice and spinach until it wilts.
Serve warm with rice, naan bread or poppadoms.
Maybe it’s because you don’t cook the lentils first that the texture of this dahl is just a little different. It’s kind of creamy and “nutty” at the same time, so has a bit of oomph to it. Too often, when I’ve order a dahl, I’m disappointed because it’s on the lentil soup side of things. Not this one. Strong, bold flavours and extremely filling so plenty left for your lunch the next day.