Indian dal

  • Cook: 30 min
  • Servings: 4
  • Level: Medium

Ingredients

  • 300 ml red lentils (about 260 g)
  • 2 large onions - chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 fresh red chillis
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 100 g fresh or frozen spinach leaves
  • 6 sundried dates - finely chopped
  • 100 ml coconut milk
  • 700 ml water
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp salt

Twist

Top your dal with everything from pulled chicken to a dollop of crème fraiche.

Serving

Serve the dal with crumbled white cheese and warm bread.

Dal is a wonderful vegetarian lentil stew/mash filled with all the fantastic Indian flavours.

I still remember the first time I tried Indian food. I was visiting my sister in Copenhagen and we were looking for a nice place to grab a meal. At the time, I was not very familiar with the different cuisines of South East Asia but was always curious to taste and try new things. We found this little Indian gem and were seated in a corner close to the kitchen where we could smell all the spices from the cooking. We ordered a variety of dishes, including curries and dal and, of course, the mandatory naan bread to soak up all of the sauce. There was an instant flavour explosion in my mouth and I was completely overwhelmed by the intense flavours of all the different dishes. Since then I have enjoyed Indian food on many occasions, but when it comes to preparing Indian dishes at home, my experience is quite limited. I guess I am still a little humbled by the long preparation hours and intense flavours of the classic Indian dishes. However, one dish has definitely gotten my attention and which has been prepared several times in my little kitchen is dal.

Dal is super easy to make, really, like it almost makes itself. You can add various vegetables to it, cream it up with coconut milk, cream or yoghurt. Add various spices and tune the chilli up and down. I’ve added some dates here to give it a little extra sweetness, but you can just as easily use dried apricots, raisins or simply leave them out. I love to cook up a big portion of dal and enjoy it over the next couple of days – or freeze a portion for a rainy Sunday. Dal is definitely a lifesaver and a personal favourite of mine.

Instructions:

Heat some oil in a large sauté pan. Add the onions and fresh chilli, sauté for a minute or two - add the garlic and keep stirring. Add the canned tomatoes, lentils, dates and spices and stir for a couple of minutes. Add water and salt and bring everything to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 min. When it’s done add coconut milk and spinach and stir for a couple of minutes. Season to taste.