Autumn, Winter, Light Meals, Soup, Sides

Simple Brown Lentil Dal

I make this dish often, using whatever tinned or jarred lentils I have to hand. The pouches work well too, and you can use puy, green, or brown. If you want to use dried split lentils (the little orange ones), just make sure you rinse them thoroughly first, and cook them in the broth until tender.

This dal is delicious straight up, but feel free to make it more substantial with extra veggies or crispy cauliflower, and adorn it with tasty things like pomegranate seeds, quick-pickled red cabbage or red onions, jalapeños and Greek-style yogurt.

I sometimes make the mixture a little looser by adding more stock, to make it soup-like, and stir through some greens, showing just how versatile this dish is. It’s really delicious the next day, too – so don’t throw away any leftovers!

SERVES:
2-4

Ingredients


2 tbsp light oil

1 onion, diced

2 star anise

5 cardamom pods, bashed

1 cinnamon stick

½ tsp chilli flakes – Kashmiri or regular

1 tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp ground garam masala

½ tsp ground fenugreek

Few dried curry leaves (optional)

¼ tsp asafoetida/hing (optional)

½ tsp amchur (optional)

Thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated

4 cloves garlic, finely grated

1 tin full-fat coconut milk

600g lentils of choice, drained if needed.

250-500ml vegetable stock

To serve

Greek-style yogurt

Coriander leaves

Pomegranate seeds

Quick pickled red cabbage or onions

Crispy roasted cauliflower

Flatbread or naan

Instructions

  1. Place a pan on a medium heat, add the oil, and gently cook the onions until soft and translucent.
  2. Meanwhile, put all the dried spices in a bowl and stir to combine. When the onion is cooked, add the spices to the pan, stir, and cook for a minute or two.
  3. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a further minute, before adding the coconut milk. Stir to combine, allowing the coconut cream to melt.
  4. Add your lentils of choice and 200ml of stock. Depending on how thick or loose you like your dal, you can add more stock for a soupier consistency.
  5. Stir, then allow to bubble gently for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare your chosen toppings, and warm your flatbread or naan.
  6. Ladle the dal into bowls, add your chosen toppings, and serve with the warmed bread.

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