Thursday, 18 September 2014

Red Lentil Dal & Coconut Rice

A very good standby veggie staple here (standby staple? Hhm.) and one where you could probably use any sort of pulse really. I use red lentils though, apart from the fact that I like them, because they cook quickly and don’t need any soaking etc.

For the rice I cooked some basmati with a couple of cardamon pods and a tin of coconut milk (about twice the volume of rice I think) - the creamy and fragrant rice goes beautifully with the dal.

There's something very restorative about this dal (or daal, dhal, or dahl): it feels like it is very good for you but in a soothing, comfort food type way.

The next time you have a cold or a bit of a hangover give it a go. In fact, give it a go anyway.

Red Lentil Dal
serves 2

small knob of butter
200g red lentils
small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp turmeric
pinch cayenne
2 small tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp rapeseed oil
2in piece cassia bark (or small cinnamon stick)
2-3 small dried red chillies
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
8 curry leaves
small handful coriander, finely chopped (optional)
½ lime, to serve

In a frying or sauté pan, melt the butter and gently fry the onion in it over a low-medium heat until softening and starting to brown at edges. Add the ginger & garlic and let sizzle until aromatic.

Add turmeric, cayenne, tomatoes and lentils and stir around.

Add enough water to cover by about 2cm. Turn the heat right down and let simmer until the lentils are tender and starting to disintegrate. This will take about 15 minutes. Add more water if necessary.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan and when hot add the cassia (or cinnamon), chillies, mustard and cumin seeds and curry leaves. Heat until the seeds are popping.

Pour into the lentil pan, off the heat. Cover and leave for 5 minutes then stir through.

Serve immediately over rice with the coriander, if using, sprinkled over and lime wedges alongside.

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