Saturday, 2 March 2013

A superb dhal from my husband

After two days at a wedding, during which meat was consumed by both Tim and I (yep, have to add two meat free days after Lent is over) we are back on home ground and back on track.

Tim cooked a superb red lentils dish again - the one I told you about earlier in the week. I have to say I don't think I ever tasted a better one (yes, apologies my lovely Indian friends). So here is the recipe, written down as Tim was cooking it.

(The photo does not give it credit. It is an awesome dish! Complex, deeply savoury, but not overpowering!)

Tim's Dhal


Part 1

3-4 table spoons vegetable oil
2 large onions - sliced (Tim makes small veges)
Thumb size piece of ginger - finely chopped
4 whole garlic cloves
About 300g red lentils
4 generous tsps Marigold reduced salt vegetable stock powder
1/2 -2/3 tsps ground coriander
1/3tsp asafoetida
2tsp ground fenugreek
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsps tamarind paste (well worth having this in the fridge, as using tamarind block is a faff)
1 generous teaspoon of tomato puree
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
Lots and lots of black pepper - if using a pepper mill - about 20 grinds)
Water - about 1l

Part 2

Juice of 1/2 lemon
20 fresh curry leaves
200ml coconut cream

The method:

Heat the oil in a large pan, add onions and saute till starting to soften, but not to colour. Add ginger and garlic and saute a bit more.
Add lentils, mix well and add a splash of water, so the ingredients do not stick to the pan while you are adding all the spices from the 1st part of the ingredients list. Mix well and add half of the water. As the lentils cook, keep adding water and mixing it to stop it sticking and becoming too stodgy. It should have a slightly soupy consistency.

Leave it all to cook for 40-50 min till lentils fall apart and are cooked.

Taste and adjust the acidity by adding a bit more tamarind paste or lemon juice if needed. It shouldn't be sour, but it should have a sour note in it.

Add coconut cream and curry leaves and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Make sure you do not add the ingredients from part 2 of the list too early. They have delicate flavours which disappear when cooked for a long time.

Taste for salt and season if necessary.

Serve with rice/Indian bread. We add peas to it for additional colour, but that's optional.


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