I’m pleased to bring you another Indian inspired recipe, this time a delectable dahl. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love dahl. It has been there for me on many a night when I haven’t done the shopping, can’t decide what to cook or just need some healthy comfort food. The beauty of dahl is that it is so simple and easy to cook and yet so diverse; you can add as much or as little spice as you like, add many different flavours or bulk it out with some hearty veggies.
The dahl in this recipe is flavoured with aromatic cinnamon and tempered with whole spices, curry leaves and chillies. If you really don’t want the chillies you could leave them out, but know this: I fed this dahl to my 18-month-old son and he ate the lot. Granted, I did try to avoid the chillies when serving his portion, but he didn’t seem particularly phased by the couple of stray bits of chilli that got in on the act.
You can buy fresh curry leaves from an Indian supermarket. I keep mine in the freezer; there’s no need to thaw them before use and they keep for ages. I add them to almost all my dahls and a lot of my curries. I have used three varieties of dahl in this recipe which are all readily available from larger supermarkets and Indian stores.
To accompany the dahl I have included a recipe for radish paratha. A paratha is a flaky chapatti which is my current favourite flatbread! It is made in the same way as a chapatti but is folded over and rolled out repeatedly for a layered effect. Parathas are often stuff with potatoes or vegetables. This one is stuffed with mooli, a type of radish which long and pointed, like a large turnip. I used a red mooli but the more common white mooli is fine. Again, this is available in larger supermarkets or Indian stores. It adds a subtle depth of flavour rather than a strong, overpowering taste of radish. It may seem like a bit of an ordeal to make these flatbreads but believe me, they are well worth the effort!
See this and other fab recipes at A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week and Rock My Vegan Socks’ Healthy Vegan Fridays!
Cinnamon and Chilli Dahl
Olive oil spray
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1” piece ginger, grated
150g mung dahl, washed and drained
50g toor dahl, washed and drained
50g urid dahl, washed and drained
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp asafoetida
Juice ½ lemon
Temper: 1 tsp coconut oil
2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
Small handful curry leaves
2 red chillies, thinly sliced
- Place a large, heavy based pan over a medium heat and spray with olive oil. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 more minutes, stirring often.
- Add the dahl, bay leaf, cinnamon, turmeric and asafoetida along with 1 litre water. Bring to the boil, cover partially, reduce heat and simmer until most of the water has been absorbed and the dahl is tender, about 35-40 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and add a little more water if you want a thinner consistency.
- Place a small frying pan over a medium heat and add the coconut oil. When melted, add the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds. The mustard seeds will pop and jump out of the pan, this is perfectly normal! When the popping starts to die down add the curry leaves and chillies and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Pour on top of the dahl, cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Stir and serve with radish paratha and basmati rice.
280g chapatti flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
160ml tepid water
1 small mooli, grated
Olive oil spray
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the rapeseed oil and water and stir with a wooden spoon until the wet ingredients are partially clumped up with the dry. Knead with your hands until a soft, smooth dough forms. Flatten into a thick disc.
- Using a clean tea towel or kitchen paper, squeeze out as much excess water as you can from the grated mooli. Place a small handful of the mooli in the middle of your disc of dough. Fold the dough over to incorporate the radish and knead for a couple of minutes. Repeat with another handful of mooli. Knead the dough for a few minutes to completely incorporate the radish into the dough. Cover and set aside for 10-15 minutes to rest.
- Divide the dough into four equal sized balls. Roll out one of the balls of dough on a lightly floured surface. It doesn’t much matter about the shape. Fold the dough in half and in half again. Roll out again. Repeat about four times. On the last rolling out, shape the dough into a disc or oval if you can (mine turned out completely odd shapes- I think it adds to the charm!) Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
- Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, take one of the flatbreads and spray each side with olive oil. Place in the frying pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until ‘bubbles’ appear on surface of the dough. Turn the flatbread over and repeat for the other side. Repeat for the remaining flatbreads, wrapping in kitchen foil to keep warm. Serve with dahl and basmati rice.