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Simple Speedy Dhal

gluten free
wheat free
kid friendly
quick meals, fast feeds
low fat low sugar, diabetic friendly
cheap as chickpeas
freezable
1 spoon difficulty rating

30 minutes

Serves: 4-6

Simple Speedy Dhal

We've made this in bulk for innumerable events but here it is in smaller quantities! It's cheap, cheerful and easy and goes well with just about any type of curry dish or even simple stir-fries and rice.

Our picture shows added spinach - easy enough to do! Just bung in about 4 or 5 frozen spinach chunks or a bag of washed spinach. If it's baby spinach, no chopping required. If it's big leaves (nicest) then it will need some rough chopping. Swiss chard also works well, as does chopped kale, though it will need to cook a little longer.

Which dahl to use? Dhal, dal or dahl - might  be spelled differently but all means the same thing - split pulses. These are sold in several varieties. The most common are red lentils, channa dahl (split chickpeas) and moong dahl - pictured. They each have their particular charms but red lentils are the most widely available and also cook quicker. Moong gives a very velvety dhal and is my personal favourite. You will find it and others like channa in Indian Sub-continent grocers or world food aisles in larger supermarkets.

Ingredients: 

  • Oil spray or 1 tbsp plain vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp of asofoetida - also known as hing. If you can't find it, use ground fenugreek
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp black or brown mustard seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1250ml/5 cups water (add more if necessary)
  • 300g/1½ cups red lentils or other dahl, washed in a sieve
  • 2cm/1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp vegan bouillon powder, eg Marigold red or purple tub or a vegan stock cube
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon juice, fresh or bottled
  • ½-1 tsp salt or to taste

Optional
Added spinach, chard or kale. This adds lovely taste and lots of useful nutrients, especially the kale. Spinach can be fresh or frozen, 4-5 lumps frozen or one regular bag of fresh baby leaf spinach. If using baby leaf, no need to chop but if using the tastier, larger leaves, chop them roughly. Alternatively, a couple of handfuls of chopped kale or chopped chard will do nicely.  

Method: 

  1. Using the oil spray or oil, gently fry the spices until the mustard seeds start to pop, then add the garlic, making sure you stir it so that it doesn't burn - it will taste bitter. If the mixture starts to catch, add a splash or two of water.
  2. Now add the rest of the water, the washed lentils, the ginger and the bouillon/stock cube.
  3. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and the mixture resembles a thick soup. Red are the quickest, followed by moong. Other types take longer. Add more water if it starts to stick. If you're using the spinach/chard or kale option, add this about 5-7 minutes before the end of cooking.
  4. Once the lentils have cooked, add the lemon juice to taste - and add extra salt if desired.

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