Dhal with spinach and tomatoes
- January 2014
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 15 min, simmering time 35 min
This cheap, healthy and vegan dhal with lentils, spinach and tomatoes is great on its own or served as a side dish. It’s an easy recipe to make, and a comforting yet low-calorie dish for January nights.
Try serving your dhal with a nourishing vegan curry such as this sweet potato and chickpea curry.
- 17g (7.4g saturated)
- 45.9g (6.3g sugars)
- 300g red lentils
- 15g fresh coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
- 400ml coconut milk
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 8 curry leaves (see tip)
- 100g baby spinach leaves
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced, rice/naan bread and lemon wedges to serve (optional)
- Put the lentils in a heavy-based pan with the coriander stalks and 2-3 pinches of salt, then pour over the coconut milk and 600ml cold water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, adding the tomatoes after 10 minutes. After 30 minutes the lentils will have broken down and the whole thing will be thick and creamy. Give it a quick whisk with a balloon whisk to make it extra creamy. If it’s too thick you can add a little more water. Simmer gently, stirring often, while you get the spice mixture ready.
- Heat the oil in a small heavy-based frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the garam masala, mustard seeds, chilli and curry leaves, then leave over a low heat. After about 1 minute, they should smell fragrant (they should have lost their bitter edge – that’s why it’s called tempering the spices.) Remove from the heat and stir straight into the lentils, reserving 1 tbsp. Be careful as the mixture will spit a little. Whisk to combine, then stir in the spinach. Add more salt to taste.
- Ladle the dhal into bowls, then sprinkle over the coriander leaves and reserved spices. If you like, top with spring onions and serve with rice or naan bread and lemon wedges to squeeze over.
If you can find fresh curry leaves (from Ocado and Asian grocers), they’re best, but you can use dried instead. If you find fresh, buy lots and put those you don’t use in a bag in the freezer (no need for prep).
A good dhal is worth buying good spices for – store in airtight containers and use within 3 months.
Make up to the end of step 2, then freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost and reheat. Gently fry a little spice (as in step 2) to top.
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