Thursday, 5 May 2016

RECIPE: Coconut Lentil Dhal

Vegan Lentil Dhal with Coconut Milk

Last year, I got A Modern Way To Eat by Anna Jones for my birthday, and quickly became obsessed. It's a great cookbook. Full of exciting, unusual flavours - a little Indian inspired, a little Moroccan, and a fair few other cuisines thrown in for good measure. But it's not full of difficult to find ingredients, and most of the recipes are fairly cheap to make. Oh, and it's vegetarian. I was halfway through it before I noticed.

I will, sometimes, try to eat less meat. Usually it's less RED meat, because I find chorizo and bacon tend to be present in a lot of my sauces. But I generally find that I can take or leave chicken in a sauce, which then means I turn towards the veggie options. So when I'm on a vegetarian kick, I turn to Anna Jones for inspiration.


This is one of my favourite meals to batch cook - it's easy, quick and cheap. Plus healthy and bloody lovely. Everything you could ask for, really. I've tweaked it a little from Anna's original recipe, adding a lot more vegetables and serving it as a main dish with rice, rather than a side as dhal usually is. But you could eat it as a soup, or piled onto naan breads. Just promise me you'll eat it. You'll like it.

(Also, it's vegan!)

Vegan Lentil Dhal with Coconut Milk

Coconut Lentil Dhal
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Fresh ginger, approx thumb-sized, chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded
1 red onion, chopped
4 carrots, grated
200g frozen peas
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
200g red lentils
400ml can coconut milk
400ml vegetable stock
200g spinach (one bag)
30g fresh coriander, chopped
juice of 1 lemon

Rice to serve (and naan breads, if you're hungry)

Serves 6

1. Chop up the garlic, ginger, chilli and red onion and fry in a little olive oil for about ten minutes until soft and sweet
2. Grind the cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar, then add to the pan along with the turmeric and cinnamon.
3. Cook for a few minutes to toast and release the flavours, then add the lentils, grated carrot, peas, coconut milk and stock to the pan.
4. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down and let it bubble away for about 30 minutes.
5. After 30 minutes, try the dhal to see if it needs any extra flavouring (I usually find it needs some salt), then stir in the spinach, allowing it to wilt a little.
6. Throw in the coriander and lemon juice, and it's done. Serve with rice, naan or both. I like to stir it into the rice and have a big bowl of deliciousness, like so:

Vegan Lentil Dhal with Coconut Milk

Anna also suggests topping this with crispy sweet potatoes and a coconut chutney, but I can never be bothered. This freezes and reheats really well, too.

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