Dhal is something I consider to be a quintessential vegetarian dish.
The ingredients seem simple enough, but the flavours develop into such a tasty dish. It can be made ahead of time and the flavour just keeps improving. It is probably one of the most inexpensive dishes on a ratio of cost to flavour and satiation, and, it’s something that can be eaten anytime of the day. It can be eaten as a breakfast dish, delicious as a spread on a little bread or biscuit for morning tea, lunch with rice, or dinner served with curries, riatta, rice, naan bread or chapatis, or as a dip with papadums and a pre dinner drink. Think about it, thats a very versatile dish!
Please understand, I don’t claim to be an expert on Indian cuisine, but I know what works for me. Once you understand making dhal, you will find your own variants on making the dish, according to what you have available in your pantry.
This is how I do it.
I tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 large brown onion finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garram marsala
2 teaspoon turmeric
1 small chilli (optional)
1 clove of garlic crushed
2 teaspoon grated ginger
1x bay leaf
3/4 cup dried red lentils well rinsed.
2 tablespoons dried blackcurrants
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups roasted pumpkin
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
I like to wash the lentils in a bowl of water. Swirl them around and drain any loose particles and excess starch. Do it 3 times, with fresh water each time.
In a medium frypan, put the oil, butter, onions and mustard seeds.
Cook on low to medium heat until the onions become softened and translucent.
Add the coriander, garam masala and turmeric, chilli, garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes.
Now add the washed lentils and stir into the onion mix, cook for another 2 minutes then add the water and bay leaf and bring up to a simmer.
Cook gently for about 15 minutes until the mixture thickens and the lentils soften.
The add the pumpkin, currants, salt and pepper. Cook gently for a further 5 to 10 minutes then turn off. This dish is striking with the black and orange colour ways.
Ready. serve now or cool and refrigerate until ready for use. Yum.
Note: If you don’t have roasted pumpkin just add chopped raw pumpkin when you add the lentils.