Written by Lydia in Gluten Free

Dhals have become a somewhat regular meal in our house over the past few years and we have tried out all sorts of different recipes.  I am more of a fan of yellow/red dhals than black ones and our usual go-to recipe is one of Rick Stein’s.

Hayley also makes a mean Sri Lankan dhal inspired from her travels there. James’ mum made one of Anna Jones’ versions  (carrot and spinach dhal) for us the other week and it is now one of our favourites, see recipe below. It is delicious, nutritious and filling all on its own but you can also bulk it out with rice.

Ingredients

Serves 4

2 garlic cloves
2 thumb-size pieces of fresh ginger, peeled
2 green chillies
1 red onion, peeled
Coconut or vegetable oil
A small handful of curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
200g red lentils
1 × 400ml tin of coconut milk
400ml vegetable stock
6 carrots, peeled
2 large handfuls of spinach, washed, large stalks removed

For the pickle: 
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
A handful of radishes
1 tbsp nigella seeds
A bunch of fresh coriander
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
A squeeze of honey or agave
Sea salt

To serve
Plain yoghurt
Cooked brown/white basmati rice
A few poppadoms

Method

1. Grate the garlic, one piece of ginger, a chilli and the red onion. Put a large saucepan on a medium heat, add a little oil and add everything you have just grated. Cook for around 10 minutes or until the onion is soft and sweet.

2. Pound the curry leaves, cumin and coriander seeds a bit in a pestle and mortar, then add to the pan with the other spices. Cook for a couple of minutes to toast and release the oils. Add the lentils, coconut milk and stock to the pan and bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down and bubble away for 25–30 minutes. Meanwhile, grate all the carrots and add those too.

3. While that is cooking, make a little pickle to go on top. Finely grate the remaining ginger and other green chilli and combine with the lemon zest, then coarsely grate the radishes into the bowl too. Add the nigella seeds and half the coriander, the vinegar, honey and a good pinch of salt and mix well.

4. To finish your dhal, take it off the heat, then stir in the spinach and allow it to wilt a little, stirring in the other half of the coriander and the lemon juice too. Pile into bowls and top with the pickle, some yoghurt and brown basmati rice. At the table, crumble over your poppadoms on top for extra crunch.

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