The wonderful thing about lentils is that they are easy to add to anything in order to give it a bit of bulk, but actually are pretty good as a main ingredient too. I make a lovely cheese and lentil loaf where the lentils, although not full of flavour, add a wonderful texture to the loaf. Similarly, lentils make a lovely dhal.
Now then, I follow a recipe given to me by my friends which works every time and allows you to temper the spiciness of the dhal, depending on what your palette can cope with. I am always taken aback when people start reaching for the water, tea or yoghurt for something that I think is mild. So often I misjudge the chilli scenario. These meals I put in the ‘learning curve’ pile.
So, this dhal. Well, it’s as simple as you like. Warm a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan – you can use Ghee if you like but it is humongously bad for your arteries and heart, apparently. Just so you know. Back to the oil.
Chop two cloves of garlic and 2 – 4 green chilli. My advice on the amount of chilli to add is, if you are not that fond of heat, start with two, you can always add some fresh chilli later. If you quite like a kick, chop up three, if you enjoy a runny nose, four. I buy the long thin ones. Obviously if you go for the larger chilli you will need more as they are milder. The reverse of this may be adhered to also.
Add the garlic and chilli to the oil then add half a teaspoon of cayenne, and half of turmeric. Let them get acquainted then add 185g red lentils, 750ml water and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for twenty minutes or so, until the lentils are cooked.
Now then, if you fancy eating a dhal that will make you wake in the morning wanting to make more, add 3 – 4 tablespoonfuls of chopped, fresh mint.
Trust me when I say, this is scrumptious.
p.s. Today’s post is dedicated to my gorgeous niece, Madeleine.