This delicious dal is light and creamy, thanks to the coconut milk and sweetness from the carrots. It’s gently spiced with cumin, turmeric and mustard seeds with a slight earthiness from the spinach that’s added right at the end. The dal is substantial enough to have on its own for a meal, or it can be enjoyed with poppadoms and naan bread. I like to make some quick pickled sliced red onions to garnish when serving; along with chopped chillies, plenty of fresh coriander and a generous squeeze of lime juice.
Ingredients for Dal
1 tbsp oil — coconut or olive oil
200g red lentils
600ml vegetable stock
200g onion — 1 large onion
2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
5-10 fresh curry leaves (optional)
1 tin of coconut milk
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 small bunch of coriander 30g
3 fresh chillies green or red
2 handfuls of fresh spinach.
Ingredients for Lightly Pickled Onions
2 small red onions
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1. Put a large saucepan on a medium heat and heat up the oil. Next, grate the onion (or use a food processor to do this if you have one.) Add the onions to the pan and let them sweat for 10 minutes.
2. Grate the carrots finely either in a processor or handheld grater. Once the onion is starting to turn golden on the edges, add the ginger and garlic paste and cook for a couple more minutes.
3. Stir through your spices and mustard seeds, and let them turn aromatic for a minute or so before adding the lentils, coconut milk, carrot, stock and curry leaves. Bring this to a simmer, and then turn the heat down and cook for 30 minutes. Stir now and then to ensure there’s enough liquid — if it gets too thick you can add a little water at a time.
4. Meanwhile, you can make your lightly pickled onions by slicing them finely. Next, stir through the red wine, cover and set this aside for serving. You can also finely chop your chillies and coriander.
5. Once the dal is cooked, stir through your spinach and let this cook for a minute or so until it’s wilted. Serve up the dal, scatter a few chopped chilis, coriander and the pickled onions over the top. Finish with a good squeeze of lime then serve. Serve with poppadoms or naan bread.