Thursday, October 15, 2009

Red Lentil Dhal Recipe

I love it when I stumble on a new recipe that’s easy and is an immediate hit with at least one member of the family. I found this dhal recipe when I was desperately looking for inspiration for making packed lunches for a vegan student, who is visiting our school.

We have a group of four students and two teachers from our sister school in Germany visiting at the moment. They’ve raised funds and have come to build a woodwork room for the school in the three weeks they’re here. I volunteered for making sandwiches for their lunch every day and so have been baking bread every day and madly slicing, buttering and throwing together mountains of sandwiches every morning before school.

But how do you provide variety in vegan sandwiches? Hummus two days running and then what? So the idea of making a thick dhal came to mind and I found this recipe on the net, adapted it to fit with what I had available in the cupboard and I now have a new recipe to turn to when my husband yearns for spicy food. He was over the moon when I produced it to go with the baked potatoes last night and we had it spread on bread for lunch today too. I really love the hint of fragrant cardomom among the other spices. The original recipe asks you to roast and grind your own whole spices, which I suspect would be even better, but this version was good enough already.

Recipe for Red Lentil Dhal

1 onion
2 cm root ginger peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 cup red lentils
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup / 250ml chopped tomatoes
2 red chillis de-seeded and chopped fine
4 cups water or stock
lemon or lime juice

2 teaspoons mustard seeds
4 cardomom pods
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Chop the onion finely. Saute it in the oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add mustard seeds and seeds from cardamom pod and stir for 1 more minute, then add ground spices and salt.
Stir in red lentils, then add tomatoes. Cook for a minute, then add water. Bring to a boil then cook at a simmer for 30-35 minutes until lentils are tender. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime. Add more water if it is too thick.

Hopefully this will have made a change from the soya sausages that his host family have rustled up for him so far. It's good for me to have a culinary challenge now and again too, otherwise it's easy to get into a rut and just cook the same old things day after day. Anyone got any great ideas for easy vegan meals that will fit in to the packed lunch category?


  1. This is just what I needed - comfort food at its finest. Thanks:)

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