Lentils are a staple in our household. We make burgers out of them, add them to salads and soups, and of course, make curries and dal.
This recipe is high in fibre and protein and is super simple, fragrant and spicy. There are many variations of dal recipes, and you can choose to add some coconut milk if you like it creamier, or even leave out the veggies. Experiment and see what you prefer.
You can serve with a side of basmati rice and/or some freshly made roti.
Here’s what you need:
100g red lentils
1tsp ground turmeric
1 large finely diced carrot
1 small bell pepper
1 large onion chopped
1 1/2 litres water (or half veggie broth + half water)
4tsp vegetable oil (olive or sunflower)
1 tsp nigella seeds, plus extra to garnish
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
6 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 green chillies with seeds, chopped
2tsp tomato puree
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp nigella seeds
1/2tsp cumin seeds
Handful of fresh chopped coriander
1. Rinse lentils under running water. Add to a bowl of cold water and soak for 10 minutes.
2. Add them to a medium pan with 3 cups of water (and/or veggie broth), turmeric and salt, and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes stirring occasionally.
3. While the lentils are cooking chop the onion, garlic, ginger, bell pepper, and carrot.
4. Heat oil in a pot on medium heat and add nigella seeds until they start to sizzle. Add onion and sauté for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, carrot, and bell pepper and cook for about 2 minutes. Then throw in the chopped green chillies, tomato puree, cumin seeds, ground coriander and fresh coriander and give them a good stir for another couple of minutes.
5. Once lentils are almost cooked, add the sauteed onions and spices into the pot and stir it all in. Cook for another 5 minutes.
6. Garnish with some more fresh coriander.
You’ll want to eat this with some steamed basmati rice or some roti. So here’s how you make the roti.
Makes 8-10 roti
150g wholemeal flour
50g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
Pinch of salt
75ml lukewarm water
1 tsp vegetable oil (olive or sunflower)
1. Pour flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle of the mixture. Pour in the warm water and oil. Add water if dough feels a little dry.
Mix everything into a dough and knead until smooth and elastic.
Cover the bowl with a tea-towel and let it sit for half an hour at room temperature.
2. Make 8-10 balls out of the dough.
Lightly sprinkle the board or counter with some flour and roll out each ball of dough to make flat, thin pancakes about 3mm in thickness. Don’t worry about them being perfectly circular.
3. Place dough pancakes one at a time in a lightly oiled hot frying pan on medium heat. Cook for about 30 seconds then flip over to the other side and cook until small air bubbles and brown spots start to form. Flip the roti over onto the first side again and press it down with a spatula—it will start to rise.
Repeat process to cook the remaining roti.
Once they’re cooked brush them with a bit of oil.