About this project
The rst time I had a really transformative bowl of dhal was courtesy
of author and television judge/critic Simon Majumdar. While he calls his recipe ‘life-saving dahl’ (LSD) I can’t claim mine has any hallucinogenic properties, but it does work wonders when you’re feeling a little low, beset by the snifles or just exhausted by the pace of modern life.
Makes 6–8 portions
- 3 tbsp Ghee or vegetable oil
- 3 Garlic Cloves , finely chopped
- 1 Fresh green Chilli , finely chopped
- 1 tsp Grated fresh root Ginger
- 1 Small Cinnamon Stick
- 4 Green Cardamom pods, bruised
- 500 g Red Lentils , rinsed
- 1 ⅕ l Water or vegetable/ Chicken Stock
- 1 x 400g tin of Plum Tomatoes (or 400g fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped)
- 2 tbsp Ghee or vegetable oil
- 1 tsp Curry Powder or garam masala
Warm 1 tablespoon of the ghee or oil
in a large saucepan over a medium heat,
add the garlic, chilli and ginger and fry
for 30 seconds, then add the cinnamon
and cardamom and fry for a further 30 seconds until aromatic. Add the lentils and pour over the water or stock. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, skimming off any scum if necessary. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with
a wooden spoon if using tinned. Cook for 25–30 minutes, or until the lentils are really soft and the mixture has thickened. Add more liquid if it needs it and season to
taste. Remove from the heat and discard
the cinnamon and cardamom pods.
Heat the remaining ghee or oil in a frying pan over a low-medium heat. Add the remaining spices and fry for a minute or so until they smell fragrant and the seeds pop. Tip the spices into the lentils, stir and taste. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, divide into 6–8 portions and freeze or chill. When you want to eat a portion, reheat it gently, wilt the spinach in the lentils, top with an egg or two, cooked the way you like it, and serve with bread and a squeeze of lemon juice to cut through the rich spices.
Variations: Try adding curry leaves, coconut milk or cream, shallots, onions, or herbs such as coriander.