From saris and dhotis to an infinite array of spices, the Indian culture has been celebrated in the UK for years now.
The harmonious integration of culture has led to the start of many restaurants all over Britain that reflect the traditions and the exquisite culinary talent of Indians.
Dahl, a vegetarian dish that stands as a basic staple in the cuisine, revolves around the legume, lentils. Families typically cook the dish at the end of the week to avoid wastage of leftover vegetables as it is a simple and flexible recipe. Here’s our version:
- 1 cup red split lentils
- 2 cups water
- 3 big potatoes
- 1 aubergine
- 1 carrot
- 5 shallots
- 3 green chilies
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil/ghee
- 1/3 cups coconut milk/whole milk
- fresh coriander for garnish
This recipe serves 4-5 people
1. Soak lentils in lukewarm water for a minimum of 3 hours to a maximum of 12 hours, or until the grains are soft and almost breaking apart. Be sure to add enough water until lentils are fully submerged.
2. Once ready, pour lentils into a large pot and add 1 cup of water and turmeric powder. Add into the pot your chopped green chillies and 2 out of 5 chopped shallots, leaving the rest of the shallots for later.
Close with a lid, bringing it to a simmer on medium heat. Whilst waiting, chop up your potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and aubergine into bite-sized cubes.
Tip: soak chopped aubergines in salt water to keep them from browning until you’re ready to cook.
3. Simmer on medium heat until lentils break down into a running paste-like consistency. Add in chopped potatoes, carrots, aubergine and both the chilli powder and ground coriander.
Ensure that the added vegetables are fully submerged. Feel free to add a half cup or more of water into the pot if needed for full submersion of the vegetables. Leave to simmer and stir occasionally.
4. Check to see if potatoes are soft. This would take around 10-15 minutes. Once soft, turn heat to low and prepare a separate pan.
5. In the pan, heat up your oil and add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. The mustard seeds will start to pop as it is heated but don’t fret, the greatest notes of flavours are just being released.
Stir well and add in your chopped tomatoes and remaining shallots. Pan fry together until shallots are slightly translucent and add the entire mixture, especially the fragrant oil, into the simmering pot. Stir well making sure all the ingredients are combined.
6. Lastly, add in the coconut milk and adjust the spices to your liking. You could add more chilli powder for more of a kick or more coconut milk for a creamier, less spicy dahl.
5. And you’re done! Serve up this aromatic dish that is packed full of flavour with a side of basmati rice or biryani rice, or even a side of naan bread or roti.