Posts Tagged 'lentils'

Dal for Babies

Coconut Dal

Ingredients

  • unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 225g red lentils
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 750ml water
  • 1½ tsp low-salt stock granules
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • fresh coriander (optional)
  • black pepper

Method

  1. Rinse the lentils in plenty of cold water and drain in a sieve.
  2. Heat a knob of unsalted butter in a large saucepan. You can add a little oil to stop the butter burning. Add the onion and fry gently for about 10 minutes or until the onion is softened. Add the garlic and spices. Reduce the heat and fry for another minute.
  3. Add the drained lentils and stir to combine. Add the water, tomatoes and stock granules. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer gently for around 25 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add a little chopped fresh coriander and black pepper to taste.
  5. Allow to cool, then split into portions and freeze.

Sambhar Lentil Soup

Sambhar

Occasionally, when I have leftover tadka dal I will convert it into a tasty soup using some vegetable stock and a handful or two of chopped vegetables. This is a cheat’s version of sambhar and as delicious as it is, it doesn’t compare to the real deal. This is my version.

Sambhar is prepared every day in South Indian homes and is eaten at all times of the day. Sambhar makes a tasty and filling lunch but can also be served as a more substantial main meal if served with some rice and homemade onion bhajis. I’d imagine it would make a great hangover “cure”, though of course I have no first-hand experience of this…

You can use any combination of vegetables you like – I used green beans, celery, courgette etc. because they’re easily available here in Ireland. You could also use aubergines, cauliflower, peas, broad beans or broccoli. You can use more authentic vegetables like okra and drumstick if you have an available supply. (Having tasted drumstick in restaurants, I am happy to leave out this most strange of vegetables!)

Ingredients

  • 225g toor dal
  • 750ml water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • thumb-sized piece of root ginger
  • a selection of mixed vegetables, chopped into small pieces (I used 1 red onion, 2 green chillies, 3 tomatoes, 2 carrots, 200g green beans, 1 stick of celery, 1 small courgette and a few pre-cooked baby potatoes)
  • 1 tbsp sunflower/groundnut oil
  • pinch of asafoetida (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 15 curry leaves (fresh, if possible)
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp sambhar powder (see below)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp tamarind puree (or lemon juice)

Method

  1. First make the dal. Rinse the lentils and check for little stones. Rinse well using a sieve, then place in a large saucepan along with the water, turmeric and salt. Slice the root ginger into fine matchsticks.
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Stir occasionally and skim off any scum that rises to the top of the cooking water. Reduce the heat and add the sliced root ginger. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stir occasionally as the lentils will stick to the bottom of the pan as the liquid starts to evaporate. While the dal is cooking you can prepare the vegetables and spices.
  3. When the dal is cooked, heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the asafoetida, cumin and mustard seeds. Stir-fry until the seeds have started to pop, then add the curry leaves and chilli flakes. Fry for another few seconds before adding the vegetables.
  4. Stir-fry the raw vegetables for a few minutes then add the sambhar masala, stock and tamarind. Now add the cooked dal and stir to combine. Season with a little extra salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
  5. Taste for seasoning, then mix through a handful of chopped fresh coriander and serve.

Serves 6.

Notes

  • I use a commercial sambhar powder, available in any good Asian store. But you can make you own if you wish.
  • This is great recipe for using up any vegetables a little past their prime. You can also add leftover cooked vegetables. This is one of the first things I think of cooking when I have some leftover baby potatoes. Just add the cooked vegetables at the end to warm through.
  • You can add a little cooked basmati rice to make it more substantial or my favourite: a tin of cooked (and rinsed) chickpeas.
  • Needless to say, make sure you chop your vegetables according to cooking time. Carrots will take longer to cook than green beans, for example, so chop them smaller.

Lemon & Coconut Dal

Coconut Dal

This dal has a bit of a South Indian vibe. It uses the same recipe as my Tadka Dal but with the addition of lemon and coconut milk. Serve with some chapatti and poppadoms.

Ingredients

  • 225g toor dal
  • 750ml water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 green chillis
  • 1 tbsp sunflower/groundnut oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced/finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • fresh coriander, a handful

Method

  1. Rinse the lentils and check for little stones. Rinse well using a sieve, then place in a large saucepan along with the water, turmeric and salt. Make an incision in the green chillies and add them too.
  2. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the top of the cooking water. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes. Stir regularly as the lentils will stick to the bottom of the pan as the liquid evaporates.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, make the tadka in a separate pan. Heat the butter and oil, then add the whole spices and curry leaves. Stir-fry until the mustard seeds start to pop. Reduce the heat then add the onion and garlic. Cook gently for about 10 minutes or until the onions are soft and browned. Add the chopped tomatoes and ground spices, then cook gently for another 5 minutes.
  4. The lentils should now be fully cooked. Squash the lentils using a potato masher (or use a stick blender) to achieve a creamy consistency. You can add a little extra water if you want a thinner consistency.
  5. Add the tadka to the lentils, then add the coconut milk. Simmer very gently for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Stir through the fresh coriander and a good squeeze of lemon juice, then serve.

Serves 2-4.

Tadka Dal

The Big 8 – The only curry recipes you’ll ever need!” – Part 1/8

Tadka Dal

Dal is often consigned to the “side dishes” section on restaurant menus, but this hearty lentil curry deserves to take centre-stage. It makes a fantastic meal accompanied by some bread or rice. I think lemon rice makes a particularly nice accompaniment, though this is not very authentic. Tadka dal is more a north Indian specialty, lemon rice being from the south.

Ingredients

  • 225g toor dal
  • 750ml water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • thumb-sized piece of root ginger
  • 2 green chillis
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced/finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp onion (nigella) seeds
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • fresh coriander, a handful

Method

  1. Rinse the lentils and check for little stones. Rinse well using a sieve, then place in a large saucepan along with the water, turmeric and salt. Make an incision in the green chillies and add them too. Slice the root ginger into fine matchsticks and add to the lentils also.
  2. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the top of the cooking water. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stir regularly as the lentils will stick to the bottom of the pan as the liquid evaporates.
  3. While the lentils are cooking, make the tadka in a separate pan. Heat the butter and oil, then add the whole spices and curry leaves. Stir-fry until the mustard seeds start to pop. Reduce the heat then add the onion and garlic. Cook gently for about 15 minutes or until the onions are soft and browned. Add the chopped tomatoes and fenugreek then cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. The lentils should now be fully cooked. Squash the lentils using a potato masher (or use a stick blender) to achieve a creamy consistency. You can add a little extra water if you want a thinner consistency.
  5. Add the tadka to the lentils and simmer very gently for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Stir through the fresh coriander and a good squeeze of lemon juice, then serve.

Cheat’s Sambar – This recipe can be easily converted into a cheaty version of sambar, a thin lentil soup commonly eaten in South India. When the dal is cooked, add 750ml – 1 litre of good-quality vegetable stock, 2 tsp of tamarind extract and some chopped vegetables. I use canned chickpeas, frozen peas and frozen broad beans. Simmer gently until the vegetables are cooked. This is also a good way of using leftover dal; just use a smaller amount of stock and vegetables until you achieve the desired consistency.

Sausage & Lentils

Sausage & Lentils

Sausage & Lentils is a classic combination and offers a great way of using up ingredients in your fridge and store cupboard. The list of ingredients you see below is just an improvisation I did this evening, you can use so many combinations of vegetables and flavours in this dish. It really is versatile. You could add some peas, mushrooms or sweetcorn. You could replace the pancetta or leave it out altogether. You could replace the wholegrain mustard with some crushed fennel seeds or some Worcestershire sauce for extra flavour. You could use garlicky Toulouse sausages or spicy Genovese for a change. You could add also some grated Parmesan cheese. Just don’t use all of these things at the same time! 🙂

Of course, you could use dried puy lentils as they don’t take very long to cook, but I just find the canned green lentils incredibly handy. Very nutritious too.

Ingredients

  • pancetta, small piece chopped (or 6 rashers streaky bacon)
  • 6 good quality sausages
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g cans green lentils
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • salt & pepper
  • baby spinach leaves, a handful
  • fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the pancetta or bacon and fry until golden and some of the fat has been rendered out. Remove the bacon and set aside.
  2. Add the sausages to the pan and fry until they’re golden. Remove the sausages and set aside.
  3. Add the onion, celery, garlic and rosemary and fry briskly until the vegetables are coloured nicely.
  4. Return the sausages to the pan and add the canned tomatoes, stock, mustard and lentils. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 8 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Stir through the spinach leaves and some chopped fresh parsley. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve.

Serves 2, generously.