A Dahl (Dal, daal, dail or dhal) is the term used in India for dried, split pulses – lentils, peas and beans. It can be prepared in the form or a stew or a soup and is amongst the most important staple foods in South Asian countries. Dahl also has become a staple food in plant-based diets – versatile, simple and nourishing as a meal or side dish, or part of a Thali. Here in Mallorca we can include local market produce – seasonal vegetables and herbs to give it a personal twist (east meets west!).
Coconut Dahl – serves 4 as side dish
100g of beluga or green lentils
200ml of coconut milk
400ml of vegetable stock
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 fresh green chili, finely chopped
2 fresh lemon grass stalks
Olive or coconut oil
Soak the lentils for at least 4 hours.
Then start by bashing the lemongrass. Use a rolling pin or something with plenty of weight behind it – this will split and bruise the stalk and allow the wonderful fresh oils to seep out of the lemongrass and into the dish.
Heat a little oil in a large pan, add the onion, garlic, chilli and lemongrass and cook for 4–5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the lentils and coconut milk and simmer for 3–4 minutes.
Start adding the vegetable stock, little by little. Keep adding the stock until the lentils have softened and partially broken down, which usually takes about 20–25 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle over the coriander and red chilli, and serve immediately with the lime wedges on the side. It’s delicious with your favourite curry.
Apricot and Cardamom Dahl – serves 4
3 tbsp butter, ghee or coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp organic turmeric powder or fresh root
2 tblsp cardamom pods or powder
1 tsp chilli flakes or fresh chilli
2 carrots, diced
1 2/3 cups red lentils
1.5 litres water
1 tsp salt
2 fresh tomatoes, cut in boat shapes
Handful spinach or greens, finely chopped
1/2 cup natural yogurt, 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, fresh coriander
Bash cardamom pods if using, and take out the seeds ready to use.
Place a large pot on medium heat. Add butter, onion, garlic, apricots, ginger, turmeric, cardamom and chilli flakes. Sauté for a few minutes, until the onion is soft and the kitchen has a lovely scent from all the spices. You can add a splash of water if they start to get burned.
Add carrots and lentils and let cook for two more minutes, then add water and salt and give it a good stir.
Decrease the heat when it starts to boil, put the lid on and let simmer for 15-25 minutes (depending on the lentils). Stir occasionally to make sure the lentils aren’t getting burned. Add more water if needed.
Remove from the heat when the lentils almost have dissolved, add tomatoes and spinach. Taste and add more salt or spices if needed.
- Lentils – soak dried lentils for 4-8 hours, unless using split red lentil or peas, these need to be washed well too, to avoid bloating symptoms. Also rinse the jarred options well before using.
- Lentils are rich in molybdenum, folate, fibre, copper and manganese. They are slow releasing carbohydrates, low GL, blood sugar balancing, cholesterol lowering and a good source of plant-based protein. Inexpensive nutritional powerhouses they promote healthy pregnancies, support weight loss, speed up metabolism,and buffer the effects of free radicals.
- Always add to vegetable soups to give a more complete meal and keep you fuller longer.
- Cardamom – Used to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Rich in manganese, used like peppermint to calm gut and flatulence.
About the author
Suzanne is a Nutritional Therapist trained in London at College of Naturopathic medicine. She has 25 years experience as a chef and recently trained in raw foods, at a gourmet level with Matthew Kenney.
Suzanne’s business is Vital Nutrition which she founded in 2008. She offers private consultancies focusing on diet and lifestyle improvements supporting patients on their journey to optimum health.
Her regular cookery workshops are delicious, fun and educational and her cooking skills are available to private clients, on retreats and for chef training.