Pumpkin Dal

A simple and soothing red lentil dal is a staple in our house. It’s a winner on so many fronts from the cheap, nutritious ingredients to the ease of the recipe. We love how flexible dals can be and how delicious they always are. There’s something textural about red lentils that makes every spoonful a delight.

This recipe is very flexible so please feel encouraged to make it your own. Sometimes we make it with a tangy tin of tomatoes, sometimes with a rich and creamy tin of coconut milk, depending on our mood. But we always have some fresh, seasonal, Irish, organic vegetables simmered in with the lentils! This week we used delicious kuri squash pumpkins which are back in stock now (as of when this blog was written) but you can use whatever veg you fancy. Some of our other favourites for dal are cauliflower, aubergine, sweet potato and carrots. Share your favourite variations with us in the comments or over on our facebook community group. We love swapping recipes over there.

Don’t forget to order your organic fruit, veg and groceries here, we deliver nationwide.

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 a squash/pumpkin (like butternut or kuri squash), diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • an optional tin of chickpeas, drained
  • a small mug of red lentils, rinsed
  • salt, pepper & chilli to taste
  • rice, lime & coriander to serve

Method

  1. In a large, heavy bottomed pan, sauté the onion and garlic with the oil until soft and golden brown. Over a medium high heat this should take around 10 minutes.
  2. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and stir fry for around 3 minutes to toast them and bring out their flavour before adding liquid.
  3. Now add the diced squash, rinsed lentils, tin of tomatoes, (optional tin of chickpeas), turmeric and ginger. Fill the tomato tin up with water twice, emptying it into the pot.
  4. Season well with salt and pepper then simmer, stirring often until the lentils are cooked through. You will probably need to add some more water as the lentils soak up the liquid.
  5. When the lentils and squash are cooked through (after around 20 minutes) and beautifully soft, taste and adjust the seasoning if you like with more salt. Add a squeeze of lime for acidity and some chilli flakes for heat if you like.
  6. Serve in bowls with rice (and optional other curries – we had a sort of lazy saag alloo which was just roasted potatoes with curry powder and some wilted spinach folded through) or just as it is with some bread. It’s delicious loosened into a soup too!

Wild Garlic Butter Parathas

Wild garlic is in season now and abundant in the woods around Galway. Do you have any growing near you? It’s one of my favourite things to forage and it’s long, pointed green leaves, white flowers and garlicky aroma are pretty much unmistakable. But, as with all foraging, please make sure you know what you are picking before you head out! Never pull the plant out by its small bulb, simply pinch off the green leaves and leave plenty for wildlife and biodiversity.

This year I made my usual batch of wild garlic pesto along with dehydrating some and turning it into a powder, blending some with salt and dehydrating it to make wild garlic salt, any flower buds that made their way into my bag were pickled and I blended a few handfuls with a couple of blocks of vegan butter which is absolutely incredible! I have used it in baked potatoes, roasted mushrooms, garlic bread and now this, our new obsession – parathas!

Parathas are laminated Indian flatbreads, flakey, buttery and oh so delicious! Here’s my easy recipe which we eat alongside red lentil dal and Indian pickles. Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think! Liz x

Ingredients (makes 8 parathas)

  • 2 mugs of plain flour plus a little extra for dusting/rolling etc (you can use plain flour, strong bread flour or an authentic atta flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 mug of water (or enough to make a soft dough – different flours have different rates of absorbency so add a little at a time and adjust with more flour/water as needed)
  • Optional extras like a tsp of nigella seeds, cumin seeds, brown mustard seeds, turmeric and black pepper are nice to add if you like
  • butter/wild garlic butter/coconut oil – melted

Method

Start by making your dough. Measure the flour and salt (and optional extra spices – we used nigella seeds this time) into a large bowl and mix to combine.

Add the water and mix into a sticky dough. Then tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead well until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Add more flour/water if needed to get the right consistency. Put the kneaded dough back into the bowl and cover it with a damp tea towel. Let it rest in the fridge so that it is easy to roll out – 30 minutes to an hour is normally sufficient.

Then divide the dough into 8 even balls and roll them out into long oblongs.

Melt your butter/wild garlic butter/coconut oil and brush it all over the surface of the dough.

Then roll up the dough lengthways and coil it into a spiral. This way you have created loads of layers of fat in your dough which will make a flaky, layered flatbread.

Sit the coils on a platter covered with a tea towel ready to roll out. Heat up a frying pan to medium-high and melt a little oil or butter in the pan.

Then roll out the first coil on a lightly floured work surface into a thin, layered flatbread. Swirl the fat around the pan to evenly coat the bottom then add the paratha to the pan. Fry until golden brown and starting to blister then flip and fry the other side.

Keep stacked up on a plate covered with a tea towel. Then warm them up in the pan when you are ready to serve. Tear and eat – scoop up dal, chutneys etc. Enjoy!

Swede, Kale & Coconut Dal with Curried Parsnip Fritters

A page from my illustrated cookbook, available to buy from Green Earth Organics shop here.

Dal and fritters are staples in our house. The dal is especially useful to have in your repertoire for those days when you are low on fresh veg just before your next veg box arrives. And of course bulking out a dal with whatever seasonal veg you have is always a good idea. I like to make it with a tin of coconut some days, usually in winter when the weather calls for something rich and creamy, and with a tin of tomato on other days when I want it lighter and tangy (as in the recipe illustration from my book above).

My fritters are not dissimilar to onion bhajis. Here with curry spices in the gram flour batter they go particularly well with the dal and you can add whatever shredded veg you have around – cauliflower, squash, carrot etc. Fritters also make great sandwich fillers or burger patty alternatives and of course they don’t have to be curry flavoured, add whatever herbs and spices you like to make them your own. I love courgette fritters with fresh herbs in the summer, squash chilli and sage in autumn, celeriac, preserved lemon and parsley…the possibilities are endless.

As always, let us know in the comments or over on our community Facebook group if you make this recipe. We love to see our recipes leave the screen. Don’t forget to share this blog with your friends and family.

Happy cooking! Liz x

Ingredients for the Dal

  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • an onion or leek
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp each: brown mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, fenugreek, salt and chilli flakes or chopped green finger chilli to taste
  • 1 mug red split lentils
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • curry leaves (if you can get them fresh/frozen that’s best, if not dried is fine)
  • 1/2 a swede
  • a few handfuls of kale
  • lemon/lime juice

Ingredients for the Parsnip Fritters

  • 2 mugs of gram flour
  • 2 mugs of water
  • 1 tsp each: salt, pepper, nigella seeds, turmeric, curry leaves and chilli to taste
  • 3 parsnips
  • vegetable oil for frying

Method

Dice the onion or leek and soften it in a large pan on a medium high heat with the oil.

Add the cumin and mustard seeds and stir to toast them until fragrant. Then add the ground turmeric, ginger and fenugreek and stir to briefly toast for just a few seconds.

Add the mug of red lentils and the diced swede and stir to coat them in the spices. Then add the tin of coconut milk and two tins of water to the pan.

Season with salt and pepper and add the curry leaves (if you have them – buy online or at specialist Asian shops) and chilli flakes or chopped green finger chilli to infuse while the lentils and swede cook.

Bring the pot up to boil then turn down the heat and simmer, stirring often, until the lentils and swede are cooked through.

Meanwhile get the fritter mix ready. Whisk the gram flour, spices and water together into a smooth batter. Then grate the parsnips and add them to the batter. Stir well to coat all the grated parsnip with the batter.

Heat a frying pan with a generous slick of vegetable oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and fry whatever sized dollops of the fritter mix in the pan. Cook on both sides until golden brown on the outside and cooked through. It’s better to cook them slowly if they are large so that they don’t end up burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. Raw gram flour batter can be a little bitter.

Stir chopped and rinsed kale through the dal about 10 minutes before serving. Serve the dal and fritters in bowls with Indian chutneys and optional rice, popadoms etc.