Saturday, 14 February 2009

Easy Lentil Dhal/Soup

Lucy, this one's for you...

This is a very simple dish that can be transformed easily into something much more exciting.

I used to think cooking dhal would be an exact science but I learned from a friend it was an incredibly simple and basic dish that is easy to cook, nourishing & heartwarming, but could also be used as a base for curries. I make a big pot at the start of the week and take it to work for lunch. It's even better after a day or 2 as the spices have been really absorbed into the lentils.

To make the dhal I made today, I used 250g dry red lentils bought from our local supermarket, which to cook require a fast 10 minute boil in a pan of water (skimming off the foam that appears on top), followed by a 15 minute simmer. Make sure you don't let the pan boil dry & top up the water if necessary. (You can use tinned lentils or chick peas and just warm them up in a pan. But I prefer using dried, and it's cheaper!

If you want to make the cheapest and easiest dhal, just add a couple of teaspoons of curry powder* to the pan of cooked lentils, stir and Bob's your uncle!
If you like, add water (or stock for more flavour) to get your perfect consistency, depending on whether you want a bowl of soup or something you can eat with a fork. Season with salt & pepper.

You can, however, make it a little more exciting than that.

Whilst my lentils were cooking I fried a red onion, added 2 green chillies and a clove of garlic. I added this to the cooked lentils along with the curry powder & a teaspoon of paprika. (A couple of drops of Tabasco add a richer flavour too.) I do like my food spicy!

I can't honestly say there are many things I find more warming & satisfying on a winter's day than a bowl of dhal and a crusty roll.'s incredibly cheap, which is an extra bonus! Go on Lucy, give it a go :-)
Ali x

*At the moment I am using Hot Curry Powder, which contains Coriander, Turmeric, Cumin, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Star Anise, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic, Salt, Cloves & Bay Leaves - what a heavenly mix that is. To be honest I no longer faff about buying all these things separately as they more often than not end up going to waste. Obviously though, if you are a purist you will want to create your own curry spice mix, which is also good.


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gail said...

Wow! I just barely caught a show on tv which mentioned dhal - and I thought, "gee I'd like to make this!", and here it is! THANKS!!! mmm!!!

Lucy Pursglove said...

Just clocked this post. Thank you! Xx

Gorgeous and Green said...

Looks great! I didn't know hot curry powder included all those spices, i'll have to try it. Thanks! Great Post!

-Angelica @ Gorgeous & Green


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