Dahl is one of my staple meals. This recipe has been adapted from one given to me by a Punjabi guy I used to work with. I use red lentils, small mounds of whatever spices I can find and lots of good quality veggie stock all chucked into one big pot and served as soon as the lentils have begun to disintegrate. The list of spices I use is quite long and it's hardly ever the same so please don't feel like you need to rush out and stock up if your missing one, ground cumin, ground coriander and curry powder are the bare essentials the rest you can leave out or replace with an alternative.
2 TBSPs coconut oil or an oil with a high smoke point
1 tsp each ground cumin and cumin seeds
1 tsp each ground coriander and coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
small handful of curry leaves
1 - 2 carrots roughly chopped
1 large onion finely chopped
1 -2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 large knob of fresh ginger finely chopped
2-3 cups of liquid vegetable stock (I use Campbell's)
1 cup of red lentils
salt, freshly ground black pepper and chilli to taste
Brown rice and fresh coriander to serve
1. Rinse the lentils well, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water (this helps them cook quicker).
2. Melt the coconut oil in a large pot on a medium heat. Add in the spices with a large pinch of salt and black pepper to taste. Allow the spices to gently warm in the oil for one minute approx. (this helps to develop the flavour but they burn easily so watch them closely). Add in the chopped onions and carrots and fry until the onions are translucent.
3. Mix in the the ginger and garlic.
4. Pour the water off the lentils and rinse once more. Add to the pot.
5. Add the stock and enough water to cover the mixture by a couple of centimetres. Cover the pot with a lid, bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to a low simmer. Stir occasionally to stop the dahl from sticking and cook until the lentils are soft and have begun to disintegrate. This takes about 20mins and add in a few extra cups of water as required.
6. Before serving check the seasoning, the dahl needs a considerably amount of salt to bring out the flavour of the spices. Serve with brown rice and fresh coriander.