I love dahl. Sometimes when I make it I think that maybe I could live on nothing else but dahl and rice and then I remember all the other delicious things there are to eat and get distracted! But seriously, dahl is utterly delicious eaten on its own with rice, with other curry dishes such as my homemade paneer with spiced garden vegetables or with a little extra stock to make a warming winter soup. This one makes use of my current abundance of squash and some delicious cavolo nero currently in season here in Italy. And because the whole thing is cooked in coconut milk without using any oil at all it’s both low fat and vegan.
A medium squash or small pumpkin
A large cup of red lentils
A white onion
A tin of coconut milk
A good handful of cavalo nero or other green leaf
2 inch piece of fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp turmeric
Red chillis to taste
A vegetable stock cube
This is a very simple recipe.
First, prepare your vegetables and spices. Peel the squash or pumpkin and cut it into chunks. Dice the onion. Chop the garlic and chillis. Grate the ginger. Slice the cabbage.
Place the squash in a pan with the onion, garlic, ginger and chillis. Pour over a tin of coconut milk – it often separates so make sure you scrape out all the solids as they are the best part! Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Next, add the red lentil, turmeric, a good grind of black pepper and a vegetable stock cube, stirring well. simmer for a further 20 minutes stirring occasionally to stop the dahl from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add small amounts of water as the mixture thickens to keep the right consistency.
When the lentils are soft add the sliced cavalo nero and cook for a further 10 minutes.
And that’s it! Squeeze in the juice of a lemon to make the flavours sing. Serve with rice and a smile.