On a typical evening, everyone has the same dinner in our household.
We don’t make a habit of preparing foods explicitly for the kids versus the adults. On a few occasions though, things happen to work out that we can do this easily and everyone benefits from the effort. Recently, we had pizza for dinner and there were leftovers for the following evening. It was a particularly wet and tiring day and I was craving some (healthy) comfort food. Seemed like just the time for dhal. G gave me a wonderful cookbook last Christmas (River Cottage Veg Everyday!) and in it is a simple recipe that we have enjoyed before.
I should clarify “we” — as in only G and I. Katie will eat a few spoonfuls of it, but our dear Emma refers to it as yucky ducky dhal. I, myself, prefer to call it Lucky Ducky Dhal. She has graciously tried it on a couple of occasions and even though we all enjoy Indian food, this just isn’t the dish for her. I’m certain I heard an enormous sigh of relief when she realized there was leftover pizza for her dinner that night.
There are a few adjustments we’ve made to add a little kick to our dhal. We’ve added some coriander and chili peppers plus some fresh lemon juice to help brighten things up. Additionally, I never have cumin seeds in my spice collection so have substituted in ground cumin. We love the flavour combination of fresh tomatoes and the spicy dhal and so we usually sprinkle some over top. And since I haven’t quite mastered naan (yet), we had some crispy pitas on the side. (I should also mention the girls gobbled up the pitas even if they didn’t love the dhal!)
This dish comes together so quickly and requires little attention so if you decided you wanted to make it along with something for the rest of the family, you needn’t feel guilty. It’s warm and perfect comfort food. Just what is needed for the cool autumn setting in.
Lucky Ducky Dhal
inspired by Hugh Fearnsley-Whittingstall’s Dhal in the River Cottage Veg Everyday!
(serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side dish)
- 1 cup red lentils
- 3 cups cold water
- 3 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3 dried whole chili peppers
- juice of 1 freshly-squeezed lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 heaping tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 medium-sized spanish onion, sliced thinly
- handful of fresh parsley, washed and dried (optional)
- a few grape tomatoes, washed and dried and coarsely chopped (optional)
- a handful of Ozery Organic Wheat Crispy Pitas
In a medium saucepan, pour the water over the lentils and bring it all to a boil. Skim the scum off of the top and then whisk in the coriander, turmeric, chili peppers and salt. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the lentils start to break down and are not sticking to the bottom of the pot. If the mixture gets a little too thick, stir in some hot water, a little at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Keep warm over low heat.
Warm the oil on medium heat in a separate small pan and sprinkle in the cumin. Stir and toast it slightly and then add the onion slices and fry them until they are soft and browned. Set aside.
Stir in the lemon juice into the lentils and then add the onions. Simmer for another few minutes and if desired, serve hot with parsley and tomatoes over the dhal and pita crisps on the side.
Tips and Suggestions:
- G finds this not quite spicy enough so he adds a little vindaloo paste or other “heat” to make it a little spicier. Experiment to find the right mix for your taste.
- If you have leftovers, this reheats very well. Just stir in a little hot water if it is too thick when reheating.
- Not read any of the River Cottage series? You should – there are some fantastic recipes in them. Pick up the River Cottage Bread Handbook. It’s an easy read and you’ll be running into your kitchen to try some of the wonderful recipes.
Although I received some Ozery products for a trial, the opinions and language in this post are all my own.
Hmmm – I haven’t made this in such a long time. Maybe tonight? Or perhaps mince pies would be a more popular choice? 🙂