Not too spicy, plenty of spices

As I’ve mentioned a time or seven, Dominic isn’t so into his spicy food.  But luckily, cutting back on heat in cooking doesn’t mean cutting back on flavour, or lovely Indian cooking and this weeks top fud reinforces that.

My absolute go-to cook book is this one. Much as I love my BLW cookbook, there’s some recipes that I just prefer ‘my’ versions of – dhal is one of those.  This book is bruised and battered and so it should be, this tome has travelled.  It was bequeathed to me by Brian & Nataly in New Hampshire, who owned 2 copies because they had different covers and hadn’t realised.  In 2005 me & Mark and the rest of (one of) the band(s) he plays with were staying with them for a couple of nights while they were on tour.  (I mention it because of how it highlights the contrast of pre-baby days with now!).  It came back to Toronto & then formed a large chunk of my baggage allowance back to Ireland when we moved home.

Luckily, I haven’t had to transcribe this recipe, I’ve found it elsewhere so cheers to that lady!  I don’t do peeling & deseeding tomatoes where possible so I’ve just used a tin of tomatoes instead.  I also had no limes to hand so used lemons.  And I used the handy coriander-in-a-tube thingy too.  This is a store cupboard type dish for me, and made it after getting me & Dom in the door from Mammó’s house with a car full of stuff and no time to think or unpack before dinner was needed.  See below the cut for the recipe.

Tomato and Lentil Dahl with Toasted Almonds

Serves 4

Ingredients

30ml / 2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 carrot, diced

10ml / 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds

10ml / 2 tsp cumin seeds

2.5 cm / 1 inch piece root ginger, grated

10 ml / 2 tsp ground turmeric

5 ml / 1 tsp mild chilli powder

5 ml / 1 tsp garam masala

225g / 8 oz / 1 cup split red lentils

400 ml / 14 fl oz / 1-2/3 cups water

400 ml / 14 fl oz / 1-2/3 coconut milk

5 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

Juice of 2 limes

60 ml / 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

25g / 1 oz / 1/4 cup flaked almonds, toasted, to serve

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Method

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan.  Sauté the onion for 5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic, carrot, cumin, mustard seeds and ginger.  Cook for 5 minutes until the seeds begin to pop and the carrot softens slightly.

Stir in the ground turmeric, chilli powder and garam masala, and cook for 1 minute or until the flavours begin to mingle, stirring to prevent the spices burning.

Add the lentils, water, coconut milk and tomatoes and season well.  Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils sticking.

Stir in the lime juice and 45 ml / 3 tbsp of the fresh coriander, then check the seasoning.  Cook for a further 15 minutes until the lentils soften and become tender.

To serve: Sprinkle with the remaining coriander and the flaked almonds.

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I served this with naan for grownups, but Dominic wheedled a good bit of it out of me.  It’s probably salty, but I let him. Bad mama.  Then we served leftovers with rice the next day.

Jill

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8 thoughts on “Not too spicy, plenty of spices

  1. Mmm, looks yummy. Thanks for the recipe. Bub really likes spicy food (hummus is an absolute fave) so this is something I hope to have a go at.

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  2. Hellooo..I’m the ‘transcribee’ (!) over at Voix Douce/Gentle Voice. Thanks for the link. 🙂
    I haven’t come across a single person who doesn’t like this recipe. How nice to hear that it’s reaching on to another generation. And yes, the Veggie book is a little gold mine of recipes and inspiration.

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  3. Hey Jayne! Thanks for that, I hate typing out things from books. And I absolutely agree with your love of substitutions too, I also swirled a little creme fraiche through Dom’s portion to cool it down slightly, but that was more for temperature than spice reasons as as soon as he spots dinner he wants it!

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  4. Sounds delicious. I have never, ever cooked lentils and I am going to start because my mam makes amazing dishes with them. Will give this a go.

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    1. Honestly, lentils can be so delicious, and they vary. You can have lovely curry dishes, bung them in soups or use them as a meat substitute. I’ve a bolognaise with puy lentils in it…

      Actually puy lentils are my favourite, they go really nicely in warm salads with things like goats cheese, beetroot and orange with some rocket. Very grown up dish there!

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