What’s the meal that you have on repeat every week? In our house it’s dal. This creamy lentil curry is so good in so many ways. Firstly, it’s always delicious no matter how we tweak it. Sometimes with a tin of creamy coconut milk, sometimes with a tin of tangy tomatoes, sometimes neither. But always with some seasonal curried vegetables! Secondly, lentils are a very affordable ingredient which satisfies the whole family for a few cents. Thirdly, lentils are incredibly nutritious, full of healthy plant-protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. I could go on but I’ll finish with the fact that they are quick and easy to cook. Add to soups and stews for body, texture and extra nutrients, or make them the centerpiece in an Indian curry like this one.
Have I inspired you to try lentils? Let me know in the comments. Top your dal with roasted veg, pickled veg, fermented veg, raw veg…anything you like to add colour and texture and taste. We went for curried, roasted swede and cauliflower as they really soak up those spices beautifully!
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
For the roasted veg:
- 1/2 a swede
- 1/2 a cauliflower
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 tsp whole mustard seeds
- 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste
For the dal:
- 1 mug of red split lentils, rinsed
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated
- 1 thumb of fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 mild fresh chilli, chopped (or to your taste)
- 1 tsp salt & a generous grinding of black pepper
- 1 tin of coconut milk
- 2 tins of water
- 100g fresh spinach, rinsed
- Turn your oven on to 200C. Chop the swede into small cubes, peel and roughly slice the onion and break the cauliflower into florets. Toss in a large baking dish with the oil, spices and seasoning and place in the oven to bake.
- Meanwhile put all the dal ingredients (except the spinach) in a pot and simmer until the lentils are cooked through and creamy. This should take around 15 minutes. Stir regularly to ensure the lentils don’t stick and burn. Turn the heat off and add the spinach to the dal. Place the lid on the pot and allow the residual heat to wilt the spinach while you take the roasted veg out of the oven and get bowls and spoons ready.
- Serve the dal in bowls topped with roasted vegetables. You can also serve with brown rice or breads to make it a heartier meal. Fresh coriander, sliced chillies, Indian chutneys, toasted nuts etc make great toppings too. Get creative and add extra nutrients and interest to your bowl.