Spiced Red Lentil Dhal

Cheap, delicious and loaded with goodness, dhal is the dish that is eaten daily in almost every Indian household; known as India’s basic survival meal, it provides an quality source of protein for vegetarians. The dhal is brought to life with a ‘finishing touch’, the tarka, which is a variety of aromatic spices tempered in hot oil and poured over the cooked lentils. Low in fat and high in cholesterol-reducing fibre, B-vitamins, protein, iron and magnesium, this comforting dhal recipe has an extremely low glycaemic index to help sustain energy and keep blood sugar levels steady. Serve with basmati rice, a roti or a chapatti and a dollop of mango chutney to fuel your autumn training programme.

Ingredients

Ingredients to serve 6-8
  • 400g red lentils, rinsed until the water runs clear
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 large dried chilli
  • 200g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced as finely as possible
  • 2 fresh green chillies, seeds removed and sliced finely
  • 25 fresh coriander
 

Nutrition

Nutriton per serving (8)
  • Energy (kcal) 280
  • Carbohydrate (g) 44
    • Of which sugars (g) 3
  • Fat (g) 3.4
    • Of which saturates (g) -
  • Protein (g) 18
  • Fibre (g) 21
  • Salt (g) 1

Method

  1. Place the lentils in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with enough water to cover the lentils by about 6 cm. Bring to the boil and then skim off any froth that appears on the surface with a slotted spoon. Reduce to a simmer.
  2. Stir in the onion, turmeric, piece of ginger, cinnamon stick, garam masala, dried chilli and tomatoes and cover. Do NOT add salt at the stage, as this will prevent the lentils going soft.
  3. Simmer very gently, for about 30-40 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Once the lentils are cooked, give them a good stir, and remove the piece of ginger.
  4. Now stir in a good teaspoon of salt.
  5. Now make the tarka. Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the cumin seeds, the black mustard seeds and the bay leaves. When the seeds start to sizzle, turn down the heat, add the garlic and fry very lightly until browned (try not to burn the garlic at this stage)
  6. Stir the tarka into the lentils, add most of the fresh coriander, and check for seasoning – you may need more salt. Serve in bowls, sprinkle over the remaining coriander and the fresh green chilli slices, Eat with basmati rice, a roti or a chapatti, and a dollop of mango chutney.
 

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