This easy vegetable dhal is literally a hug in a bowl
Is there one food that reminds you of home? That one recipe that takes you back to your mum’s kitchen. For me, it has to be dhal. I can only describe dhal as a hug in a bowl. It’s
What other vegetables can I use in a for an easy vegetable dhal recipe?
You can swap out the spinach and replace with kale. But I would add the kale at the very start, or another leafy green such as cavolo nero. You could use cauliflower, add a handful of florets at the start, broccoli, sliced green beans. I don’t think you can too far wrong with this recipe, it’s perfect for packing full of delicious vegetables.
What is Maldive fish?
Maldive fish is an essential part of Sri Lankan cooking. Maldive fish is tuna flakes, produced in the Maldive Islands. We use Maldive fish in vegetable dishes, it adds an umami flavour to the dish.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, simply omit the Maldive fish from the recipe.
A festival of dhal
I have only just discovered that there is the British Dal Festival. How did I not know this? The festival ran from Sunday 10 February for a week in celebration of pulses and its numerous benefits including health, nutrition and biodiversity. Here are a few of my favourite festival recipes:
- Rasam – a South Indian dhal soupy dhal made with tamarind
- Spiced dhal vegetable cakes
- Moong dhal with cashew
- 300g red lentils (washed)
- 600 mls water (up to a litre)
- 1 courgette cut into batons
- 1 clove of garlic (peeled)
- 1 dried red chilli, crushed
- 1 carrot cut into batons
- 100g frozen peas
- a pinch of fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 dried red chilli crushed (more if you want more heat)
- 1 tbsp Maldive fish flakes (optional)
- a generous pinch of curry leaves
- 1 large yellow onion sliced
- 4 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 50g baby spinach
- Salt to taste
- Put the washed lentils into a medium-sized saucepan. Add the water. Into this drop in the peeled clove of garlic, the deseeded chilli, the courgette and carrot batons, frozen peas, a pinch of fenugreek seeds and the turmeric
- Bring the water to the boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and allow the lentils to simmer.
- Let the lentil simmer for around 35-40 minutes. Occasionally skim of the foam that will develop. Give the lentil the occasional stir
- The water will start to reduce, but what you are looking for is for the lentils to become mushy and creamy. If the lentils start to dry out, add more water and give the lentils a good stir
- You can continue to keep the lentils cooking while you temper the spices, onion, garlic, ginger and spinach
- In a small frying pan heat the oil before adding the cumin and mustard seeds, chilli, Maldive fish and curry leaves
- Once the seeds start popping add the onion. Lower the heat, and allow the onions to cook, let them become transparent
- Now add the garlic, ginger, and continue to stir
- Add the baby spinach. Toss the spinach in the onion, garlic, ginger and spices. Allow the spinach to wilt and soak up the spices
- As the onions start to brown, tip the contents of the frying pan and stir into the dhal. Mix thoroughly
- Now, add salt. Be generous, don’t skimp, it’s the salt that makes this recipe. And keep tasting, you’re fine-tuning the dhal to a taste YOU love
- Got a taste you love? Serve up immediately with your favourite curry and rice
- Or just keep it simple, rice and a helping of lime pickle