Mahnaz made Daal for us at the farm – a family recipe and it was mouth wateringly good! It was also a moment of culinary revelation… In pretty much any recipe with onion and/or garlic, I’ve always fried those off first, “till golden” then added the other ingredients. Not in this recipe! Cook the lentils with a lovely load of herbs and spices, break all of your reservations and fry the onion and garlic till dark – pretty much burnt. Then mix the two and – yummmmm.
250g uncooked Lentils (Red, Puy or Green)
2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2″ fresh ginger, finely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Half a bulb of garlic, finely chopped (about 6-8 cloves)
1 1/2 onions, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seed, lightly crushed
Check the cooking instructions on your lentils – some need soaking overnight, others don’t. Follow instructions, which will at the very least include giving the lentils a good rinse. The green lentils keep their shape and give you chunky daal, the red ones mush up more.
Put the lentils in a pan with enough water to cover. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, chilli, turmeric, cumin and ginger. Bring up to the boil. Boil for as long as packet instructions say, then simmer up to a total of half an hour until the lentils are soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed. If the mixture dries out too much, just add a little more water.
Meanwhile, make the tarka. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the onion, garlic and coriander seeds. Fry until the onion is well browned, nearly burnt or starting to burn. Not clear, not golden, go for just burnt, that’s the flavour you want. Honest.
Add the tarka to your cooked lentil mixture and you’re done.
Once you’ve sampled this, you can vary to suit your tastebuds and what you’ve got in the cupboard, add more hot spices if you want more kick, add some fresh coriander….
For another lentil favourite, check out the cheesey Veggie Wedgie!