Wholesome Lemony Dhal
DHAL is simply the Indian word for lentils and is eaten in many Asian countries as a staple meal. It normally has quite a spicy kick to it and is often accompanied by rice. However, rather than having a kick, my version here has a lemony zing.
I like this dish because it is healthy and easy to make (even though it takes an hour, you just chop and fry for 10 mins and then let it simmer for another 50 minutes). Most importantly, I think lemony dhal is delicious! Also, it is really cheap to make.
I use spinach in this recipe to add nourishment. It is considered by many to be the ultimate superfood, rich in antioxidants, iron and vitamins and has even been linked to a array of health benefits. So, I reckon it is worth using as much as possible until someone says otherwise. However, you could easily leave it out or use up another vegetable that you happen to have in your fridge e.g. mushrooms, peppers, green beans, broccoli etc.
- 1 small onion, chopped quite thinly
- 3 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 tsp Madras curry powder
- 250g red lentils
- 800 ml vegetable stock
- 3 large handfuls of spinach
- Juice of two lemons
- Broccoli, rice or flat bread to serve with the dhal
1. Heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil* in a large saucepan. Add the onion, cumin seeds and Madras curry powder and fry for 3 minutes until the onions are soft.
*It is assumed you have some sort of cooking oil (e.g. olive oil, 1 cal spray, sunflower oil, vegetable oil or butter) in your store cupboard.
2. Add the red lentils, then vegetable stock and gently stir.
3. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring every-so-often, making sure there is enough liquid in the pan. If you ever think it looks like drying out then add some more water.
4. Near to the end of the 45-minute simmer, begin cooking your accompaniment – rice, broccoli or warming your flat bread.
5. After 45 minutes, once the mixture has a more creamy consistency, add the spinach and the juice of two lemons. Stir in and simmer for another couple of minutes.
6. Serve with cooked rice, cooked broccoli or even flat bread. Personally I prefer healthy broccoli with this, though rice is the more traditional accompaniment in Asia.
I normally have some dhal leftover as this is quite a generous recipe. I love eating it the next day or using it as an accompaniment for something else instead of rice or pasta. It tastes even better a day later!