Dhall with vegetables

13th January 2018

After Christmas I crave simple comfort food, and dhall ticks all the boxes. This is one I made with some vegetables in it, which made it even tastier and nutritious. With a dollop of plain yoghourt and a couple of chappatis or some rice, what's not to like? There is no soaking needed as these lentils cook so quickly. Using ready made garlic & ginger puree speeded things up too: we buy large jars of this from a local shop and it is an excellent stand by

Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients: I have tried to write them in more or less the order they are needed, which should help if you have never cooked anything like this before

Dhall with Vegetables (Makes 2-3 generous servings)

What you need:

1½ cups of split red lentils (split moog dhall)

½ tsp ground turmeric

3 medium onions sliced finely

pinch of salt

1tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbps ghee (or use extra oil)

1 heaped tsp garlic puree

2 heaped tsp ginger puree

1tsp whole black peppercorns

2tsp fennel seeds

1tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds

1 tbps black mustard seeds

1tsp ground coriander

1 tsp chilli flakes or powder, according to your own taste

chopped tomato, either 6 cherry ones or 2 medium ones

1tbsp tomato puree

1 cup of french beans cut into 3cm pieces (fresh or frozen)

½ cup chopped coriander leaves

salt to taste

What to do:

1. Rinse the dhall, making sure any tiny stones are removed, and put in a saucepan with enough water to cover by about 8-10 cm. Add the turmeric, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes

2. While the dhall is cooking, gently fry the sliced onions in the oil and ghee, with a pinch of salt to help them brown. 

3. While you are waiting for the onion to brown, grind the fenugreek, fennel and black pepper together in a pestle and mortar

4. Once the onion is brown around the edges, add the mustard seeds, cooking until they start to pop, then put in the garlic and ginger purees (careful, it might spit) and stir to mix.

5. Add the spices you have just ground, plus the ground coriander and chilli powder/flakes and stir to mix. Cook for three minutes, adding water a splash at a time if needed, so they don't stick and burn. 

6. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree (In the Summer when tomatoes have more flavour, you can omit the puree) and cook slowly until their juices are released. 

7. Add enough water to give about 3cm in the pan, and put in the green beans. Cover and cook for 6 minutes for fresh, 3 for frozen beans. Turn off the heat

8. If there is any foam on the dhall, skim this off and test to ensure they are soft. There should be very little water left by now

9. Bring the onion/bean mix to a rapid boil and pour into the dhall, stirring to mix

10. Taste and add salt as needed

11. Stir in chopped coriander leaves just before serving

Dhall sits quite happily on the stove top until you are ready to serve, it keeps in the fridge in a covered dish for two or three days and freezes superbly.  I usually make extra for another day, as it is easy to increase the quantities, and the cooking time remains about the same

You can add any vegetables you like: cooked carrots are good, as is spinach, either fresh or frozen in cubes. I have also used left over cooked potato sometimes

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do