I think we all know those people who love and embrace everything about India, the sights, the culture, the colours and especially the FOOD!
Some of them take trips every year, stay at a minimalist yoga retreat and come back totally ‘spiritual’, #cultured and a changed person.
If you're one of those people or anything like me, half Indian and half English and living between two cultures, or if you're just looking for a gentle reminder to get your 'Eat Pray Love' on, then you’ve come to the right place!
If an Ashram sounds a little too hard-core right now, I’ve got the perfect dish that’ll make you feel as if you’re ‘connecting to your core’ and being healed internally by the local medicine man.
Transform your kitchen into an Indian land of spices with all of the aromatic colours and flavours of this beautiful country. I’m helping you put the authentic back into Indian food with a DAHLiciously easy dinner that is equally warm, comforting, wholesome and supercharged!.
Indian food has a way of catering to everyone’s food preferences – whether you’re gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free or anything else-free, this dahl can be catered to suit your needs. It’s Indian cooking made easy and people-friendly.
So, what is Dahl (or daal or dal)? It’s an Indian dish of curried, spiced lentils. It’s one of my favourite meals to make when I’m in a CURRY because it’s quick and simple. I’ve included anti-inflammatory turmeric, high-fibre lentils, antioxidant-rich garlic, nausea-relieving ginger and digestive-improving cumin to make this dahl rich in nutrients and perfectly grounding. This superb combination is warming and immune-boosting to help fight off colds all year long.
Growing up with my Indian background, lentil dahl has always made me feel at home. If you want to know more about my ever-evolving love of India and Ayurveda, you can read about my Indian adventures or check out my Ayurvedic-inspired book, Eat Right for Your Shape.
Let’s talk about the star of this Bollywood show - Lentils!
Lentils aren't just a good option for plant-based enthusiasts. These legumes punch way above their weight when it comes to protein, iron and nutrients.
Lentils are a low-calorie, nutrient-packed legume with a nutty and earthy flavour. They contain a great source of prebiotics which means they benefit our existing gut bacteria and feed our communities of healthy flora to keep everything running smoothly :oops:. Lentils also contain dietary fibre, protein, iron, B1, zinc, potassium and more!
Because they're high in insoluble fibre, they can help prevent constipation and even relieve irritable bowel syndrome. They're a plant-based source of both protein and iron that can help lower cholesterol, stabilise blood sugar and look after heart health. These little legumes can also help with weight loss because they’re high in nutrients like fibre, protein, minerals and vitamins and low in calories which means they keep us full and satisfied - Bonus!
Just remember, lentils aren't everyone's best friend. They can increase flatulence so if you're trying them out for the first time, I suggest eating them with close friends or family or soaking them beforehand.
Just like fine wine and cheese, there’s something about dahl that only gets better with age. This dahl makes for the perfect lunch the next day. That's, if you haven’t finished it before then!
- 2 cups red lentils rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable stock or water
- 2 tsps turmeric
- 2 knobs unsalted butter
- 2 tsps cumin seeds
- 3 cardamom pods lightly crushed
- 4 cloves
- 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 fresh green chilli deseeded and finely sliced
- 1 inch piece ginger grated
- 1 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 inch cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp coriander
- pinch sea salt
Place the lentils in a pan add stock or water to cover and bring to the boil (skimming off any scum that rises to the top). Once boiled turn heat down to a gentle simmer and add turmeric and 1 knob butter. Cover with a lid, and let simmer (about 15 mins) stirring occasionally and adding more liquid if required.
In a small frying pan, over a medium heat place a small amount of butter and add cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cloves and fry for about a minute until fragrant (the seeds may pop).
Remove the tempered spices from the pan and set aside in a small bowl.
Melt remaining butter in the same frying pan over a medium heat and fry garlic, onion, chillies, grated ginger and tomatoes, add the cinnamon, coriander and tempered spices and cook until onion is translucent.
Remove from the heat and set aside until lentils are cooked through, then stir through spice mix.
Season to taste, ladle into bowls and serve with fresh coriander.