Thursday, 16 April 2009

Lentil Dhal for Cami...

Little lentil loving....

This was the filling for the stuffed potatoes.I don,t ever weigh vegetables or spices for curries...because I think it depends on the personal taste of who you,re cooking for...or your mood on a particular day....if I had my way I,d overload on cumin and chillies(dry or fresh)....

Chop and saute onions...until translucent.
Add two or three chopped garlic cloves and chopped fresh root ginger.
Dice carrots,a wee bit of celery,red peppers,courgettes and continue to saute.
Add cumin seeds,coriander seeds and crushed cardamom....and curry powder(garam marsala or blend of choice)
Add a cupful of red lentils.
Pour some chopped diced tomatoes(or organic tinned tomatoes) and some vegetable stock....enough to cover the lentil and veg mixture.
Cook until lentils have softened completely.(if nessesary add more liquid)
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes on dhal making...
Loads of onions are essential ...Cook them well before you add the other ingredients.
The amount of garlic and ginger depends how much spices you add....look for a balance of flavours.
You can of course use other lentils,brown,split peas (and at the end throw in cooked chickpeas or cooked red kidney beans)...but I prefer red lentils as you don,t need to soak them and they cook quickly.
If you toast the spices whole in a dry frying pan the heat releases their natural oils and flavours much more than adding them directly to the curry...crush in a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar...........and note gigantic difference of taste!
At the end of cooking you can blend half the mixture if you like a creamier dhal.
I personally love cumin and cardamom...without them my dhal would not be complete...look for your favourite spices....go to your nearest Indian shop and try adding black onion seeds,curry leaves,cinnamon,fennel,tumeric for colour,cloves...etc...etc..
You can always change the vegetables...but I like a sweet combination.
Try add coconut milk or powdered almonds at the end of cooking.
I cooked in a resaurant once with an Indian chef Kumar -which was brilliant...I never stopped asking questions and I never added enough salt....I think it needs a fair bit of salt to balance the spices and strong flavours.
I like to add mango chutney(available in Indian stores)which adds a hot kick and keeps for forever with a layer of oil on top.
Look for " Pataks"I think thats the brand..for kormas,chutneys and other sauces.

Serve with lots of basmati rice,popadums,a raita of your choice,mint chutney,aloo gobi,sag aloo,pakoras,samosas......must write more Indian recipes.ummmmmmmmmm..especially onion bhajis.........ummmmm
If anyone wants a more exact recipe I can try and be good and note down the quantities....Happy Dhal making!

1 comment:

  1. what happened, the post is empty!? I want my recipe!