I love a good dahl. The vaguely hilarious name. The simplicity. The rich spices that transport me back to the thronging energy of India’s muggy streets, and an epic six-week trip with my besties back in 2009.
I also really like creamy things, though I’ve never really liked cream made from cow’s milk. That stuff’s meant for calves, not us humans.
Combining two loves is a beautiful thing, I reckon.
And so I present my creamy yet vegan red lentil dahl, made with a generous glug of velvety coconut milk.
Served up with deliciously chewy whole brown rice, this guy also becomes an excellent complete protein source for plant-eaters.
400ml coconut milk
250g yellow lentils
2 onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves
1cm of fresh ginger
1 tablespoon of mustard seeds
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 tablespoon of turmeric
1 tablespoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
3 bay leaves
Serve with: whole brown rice and sautéed spinach or other leafy greens.
Get a cup or two of whole brown rice bubbling away in a medium pot of water.
Cut the onions in halves and then into thin slices. Chop the garlic and ginger finely.
Heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan, then fry the sliced onion until it starts to soften and even brown a little.
Add the garlic, ginger and mustard seeds and fry until the seeds start to make audible popping noises. Add the other spices, season with salt and stir thoroughly.
Pour in the lentils and stir thoroughly again, frying for a few seconds. Add in about half a litre of boiling water, the entire can of coconut milk and the bay leaves. Stir thoroughly and bring to the boil.
Lower heat, cover and allow to simmer gently until the lentils are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Add a little extra hot water if needed.
If serving with greens, chop and sautéed them now.
To serve, throw the dahl in a big bowl with rice and the greens. A little lemon juice drizzled over the top really makes the flavours zing.
This recipe freezes exceptionally well, lasts several days in the fridge and is even delicious eaten cold.