Indian lentil and tomato dal

 

Pulse ambassador Jenny Chandler has shared her super simple dal recipe from the book Cool Kids Cook. 

 

“Dal is one of the cheapest and healthiest dishes you can ever make, it’s delicious too.  You can eat it with boiled rice or flat, Indian-style breads or as a side dish with a curry.”

Photo from Cool Kids Cook

Photo from Cool Kids Cook

SERVES 4–6 AS A MAIN OR 8–10 AS A SIDE DISH

Ingredients

  • 250g/1¼ cups red lentils 

  • 600ml/2½ cups water 

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped 

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 

  • 3cm/1¼ in knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated 

  • 3–4 tbsp vegetable oil, such as sunflower or rapeseed oil 

  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 

  • 1 x 400g/14oz tin chopped tomatoes 

  • 200ml/1 cup coconut milk 

  • Salt

FOR THE TARKA TOPPING 

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil 

  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds or cumin seeds and a pinch of chilli flakes 

  • a handful of chopped coriander or mint leaves

 

Method

  1. Soak the lentils in the measured water while you prepare the onions, garlic and ginger. 

  2. Add the vegetable oil to a large saucepan, place it over a medium heat and then add the onions and fry gently until they soften. Next, add the garlic and ginger and stir over the heat until the smell wafts up at you. Sprinkle in the turmeric and take the pan off the heat.

  3. Now carefully add the tomatoes, coconut milk and the lentils with their water.

  4. Put the pan back on the heat and simmer, or bubble slowly, for about 20 minutes until the lentils have collapsed and you have a creamy mixture. 

  5. Taste the dal and add salt to balance the flavours. 

  6. To make the topping, take a small pan and warm the oil over a medium heat, then add the seeds and fry for about a minutes until they begin to pop. 

  7. Spoon the oil and seeds on top of the dal. Stir and serve with a good sprinkling of chopped coriander or mint.