12 September 2012

We love you dahl

Last night I came home from a yoga class and there was only one thing my body wanted for dinner: dahl. Even better, dahl from my yoga teacher's cookbook! Called 'Soup Tuesdays', it is a collection of recipes from one of her other jobs, which is creating delicious lunches for workers at a local 'green-accredited' office building. I know someone who works there and he raves about her food.

What a multi-talented person Katie Pervan is: she is also the most wonderful yoga teacher. Here's the website for her yoga studio, a place of peace and sore muscles (depending on what kind of class you do - the muscles, that is, because it's always peaceful).

Fortunately there was leftover dahl in our fridge from a couple of nights earlier, and like all curries, it gets even better with age.

I thoroughly recommend the recipe. My husband was skeptical when I said I was making it, expecting watery lentil mush. But it was thick and richly flavoured, and he enjoyed it. Of course there are the other great things about dahl besides its taste: super healthy, super cheap, filling, ingredients almost always on hand, and it's gluten, dairy and meat free. Oh, and easy and all done in one pot.

A dainty plate of dahl. I eat twice as much as that.
Or three times as much after a yoga class.
One day I'll post the recipe to my naan bread, pictured above, famous among friends who have tried it, and loved just as much by children.

Taken with permission from Soup Tuesdays, by Katie Pervan.
Katie points out that it's not very traditional, but it works very well.

(Serves 4-6)
1 large onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 thumb piece ginger
1 tsp each of ground spices: coriander, turmeric, cumin, chilli
2 1/2 cups split red lentils
1 can chopped tomatoes
sea salt
balsamic vinegar
brown sugar
lemon juice

Gently fry chopped onions in a saucepan until soft, using a good puddle of oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. Add the spices (at least 1-2 tsp of each, less of chilli) and fry them for a minute or two. Add some fresh chilli if you like, and the ginger.
Add the lentils (one cup per 2-3 people) and stir until well coated and integrated.
Add tomatoes and enough water to at least cover the lentils.
Cook gently on stovetop. Stir now and again to stop the lentils sticking. They will absorb the water and you may need to add more water to get the desired consistency. (I think this takes about 30 minutes as a very rough guide.)
Once ready (when the lentils are soft and mushy), 'correct' the dish with a slosh of balsamic, a pinch of brown sugar and the juice of one or two lemons. Add more salt and pepper as need be.

Katie also suggests adding finely chopped carrot or red pepper. You could fry some more spices and add them at the end, as is traditional.

Good served strewn with some chopped avocado and fresh tomato, squeeze of lemon, crack of pepper. Serve with crusty bread or rice and a green salad.

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