Tag Archives: dhal

Coconut Dal (spicy lentils)

20 Aug

A simple soupy lentil dal flavoured with coconut milk, chilli, garlic and curry leaves. I love all kinds of dal or dhal and this one is a particular favourite with a soft rounded flavour sweet with coconut and warming subtle spices. Serve with rice or Indian breads such as chapati, some pickles and a dry meat or vegetable curry.

  • 1 cup split hulled orange lentils
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 green chilli
  • 4 cups water

Wash the lentils and cook in a roomy pan with the turmeric chilli and water. When the lentils are soft, about 30-40 mins, add coconut milk and season to taste.

final fry

  • 1 tbsp veg oil
  • Half an onion
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 3 small hot dred red chillis or sliced large ones
  • 2-3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 12 curry leaves

In a small frying pan heat some vegetable oil or ghee and throw in the onion when it begins to colour add the garlic and when it starts to colour finally throw in the dry chillis and curry leaves fry for a minute then pour the hot oil and spices into the lentils, stir quickly, cover and let the flavours infuse before serving. Stir in a handful of fresh coriander leaf and serve scattered with a little extra fresh coriander leaf or shavings of fresh coconut.


Cauliflower with Lentils

1 May

This is a delicious way of cooking cauliflower in a sauce of spiced lentils known as dal or dhal in Southern Asia. The combination is subtle, savory and wonderful. You can add nuts for protein to make this a complete meal or serve as a side for a meat dish or with any number of vegetable dishes for a vegetarian feast.

Make a batch of basic dhal

  • 1 cup red hulled split lentils
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 large green chillis
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seed (optional)

Wash the lentils then put into a roomy pan with the rest of the ingredients. Cook for 30minutes or until the lentils are soft.

  • Half a cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
  • 1tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp fennel, nigella or cumin seed
  • 1 black cardamom pod (optional)
  • 1-2 dried red chillis
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced (optional)
  • pinch asefetida (devil’s dung)
  • a small piece of ginger grated (optional)
  • 1 thinly sliced fresh green chilli (optional)

Cut the cauliflower into bite size florets. Remove the green chilli from the dal and add the cauliflower, cover and simmer slowly, meanwhile…

In a small pan or skillet heat the oil then throw in the first 5 spices, when they pop add the garlic and as soon as it starts to brown add the asefetida and pour straight into the lentils and cauliflower, stir and continue to cook until the cauliflower is just tender but still has a fresh tasting bite. Stir in a little more fresh green chilli and ginger, if using, and some fresh coriander leaf if you have any then serve.

Serve with rice or chapatis or a lamb biryani , a grilled meat dish such as masala roast chicken, or a hot meaty curry like Beef Roganjosh or with Bombay potatoes or any number of vegetable dishes such as green bean Coconut Fry  for a vegetarian feast.

Cooks Note Add spices according to your taste, you could add nigella, fennel or cumin seed or indeed all three, use green cardamom instead of black for a more floral taste and use asefetida instead of ginger for a more earthy savory taste and vary the spicing and quantity of chilli depending on what the dish will be served with.

Dhal (Masoor Tadka)

15 Mar

This is my version of the classic Indian dish of red lentils seasoned with fried garlic and spices. It is simple, savory and delicious and one of my very favourite Indian foods. I love it with freshly cooked chapatis and some chutney or as a side to almost any other Indian dish. Masoor is the Indian name for the small reddish orange split lentils most commonly found in European markets. Tadka or Tarka means tempered or fried and it is the addition of hot fried spices that makes this dish so special. The lentils are cooked simply with fresh green chillis and turmeric then the spices are fried in oil and stirred, while hot, into the dal to create a wonderful aromatic vegetarian dish.

  • 1 cup red hulled split lentils
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 large green chillis

Final fry

  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 3 hot dry chillis
  • 10 curry leaves
  • pinch asafoetida

Wash the lentils and put into a roomy pan with the water, add the chillis that have been cored and sliced and the turmeric. Cover and cook for 30- 40 minutes until the lentils are soft, bash with a potato masher if you want a smooth dal and season with salt to taste. In a small frying pan heat some vegetable oil or ghee and throw in the garlic, when it begins to colour throw in the cumin, dry chillis and curry leaves fry for a minute then throw in the asafoetida and immediately pour the hot oil and spices into the lentils, stir quickly, cover and let the flavours infuse before serving. Serve scattered with some fresh coriander leaf.

Radish Greens Mung Dal

8 Jan

  • 1 tea cup mung dal
  • 2 large green chillis, sliced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2-3 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • large bunch radish tops
  • salt
  • pinch asafoetida

Final fry

  • Oil mustard or peanut
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 1-3 dried red chilli

Wash the dal and put it into a saucepan with 6 cups of water, the turmeric and the green chillis. Bring to a simmer cover and cook until the lentils are soft but still whole. Add the coconut, washed and chopped radish tops, asafoetida and salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes or until the radish tops are soft.
In a small skillet heat the oil and then throw in the slices of garlic after a minute throw in the spices as soon as they start to pop pour the oil and spices into the lentils stir and cover. The dish is ready to serve but the flavour will improve if it is left to sit for 30 minutes and is even better the next day.

Cook’s Note Be brave with the chilli, I used 2 large hot Moroccan green peppers and the result was a deep and wonderfully subtle heat.
Variations Greens cooked with pulses are quite a common combination in Indian cooking, any type of spinach, brassica greens or beet leaf can be used as a substitute in this recipe. Mung dal are hulled split mung beans but you could use any kind of lentil for this dish.

For another unusual dal and greens dish check out Kale Dal Curry on Simply Spicy a food blog with a some wonderful lentil recipes.