LIFE SAVING DAHL: THAT RECIPE ONE MORE TIME
Of all the recipes I have ever posted on DH, this simple one for a family recipe of red lentils cooked with spices and lemons is by far the most requested.
I can understand why. LSD is one of the most comforting dishes you can ever imagine. Like a Bengali version of chicken soup, a dish that nourishes both body and soul. It is the dish I turn to when I am in ill health and it was the dish I turned to when I returned home from work one day and decided to set out on the journey that became Eat My Globe.
I caution people, however, that this is not a quick dish to bring to the table. It is a dish that demands to be prepared with patience and love. But, it is oh so worth the effort. The smell of the lentils toasting in the pan as you stir them with your hands. The aroma of onions, chilli, garlic and spices as you let them fry gently to release their flavours and the subtle note of citrus of the end result as you spoon the dahl over a couple of hard boiled eggs.
This is a perfect dish served on its own or with a simple yoghurt chicken curry, some plain boiled rice and a raita of mint, cucumber and toasted nigella seeds.
It is, I can say without hesitation, the food I love the most and I hope at least some of you will give it a try and let me know what you think.
1 cup of red lentils (toasted first in a dry pan. I use my fingers to stir and when it is too hot to touch, it is done)
1 unwaxed lemon chopped in quarters
1 onion sliced
2 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves garlic
3 fresh green chillies
2 inches of fresh ginger
1 tsp each of ground turmeric/ginger/cumin/coriander seed/hot chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 Pints of water, chicken or vegetable stock
1 Bag of spinach ( washed )
Make a paste by blending the ginger/garlic/fresh chilli with a little salt and water.
Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a hot pan and when it comes to heat, add the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick. Cook for 1 minute on a low heat until they release their flavour.
Add the onion and cook on a low heat until it begins to soften and turn golden. Don't rush this, you want the natural sweetness of the onions to be released.
Add the ginger/chilli/garlic paste and cook for two to four minutes until it loses its rawness.
Add the ground spices, sugar and salt and mix well with the onions and cook out
for 4 mins until the spices lose their rawness. If the mixture begins
to stick add a little water.
Add the lentils and mix well so all the pulses are covered with the mixture.
Add 1 1/2 pints of water/stock and the quartered lemons and simmer for 30 mins until the lentils have broken down. Add more water if it sticks. Some lentils may take a little longer
Add the spinach, cover and allow to wilt into the lentis
The end result is quite a watery Dahl which is great served over a hard boiled egg