Meatless Mondays with Cathy Duffield

DAHL: A cheap and easy creation.
DAHL: A cheap and easy creation.

Dahl is another family favourite because it is tasty and quick to make. It is a popular dish around the world, particularly in India. At any one time, millions of people will be eating dahl.

Not only is dahl a popular dish but it also costs little to make.  The main ingredients in this dish are red split lentils and tomatoes, and the lentils cost, at a local supermarket, $1.63 (a 500 gram bag costs $3.25 but the recipe requires only 250 gms) and the tin of tomatoes, $1.35. The coconut cream costs 25 cents. Adding a little extra for the other ingredients this dish can be made for well under $4 and along with rice and vegetables it will serve four people. 

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon of mild curry powder (or more to taste)

1 teaspoon of salt or to taste

1 cup of red lentils

3 cups of water

2-3 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

¼ cup coconut milk (or more to taste)

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Heat the oil in a fry pan and sauté the garlic and onion for a few minutes.

Add the curry powder and cook for a few more minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently.

Add the water, the lentils, the bay leaves, salt and cinnamon stick and bring to the boil.

Cook on a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the dahl has a soft, mushy consistency.

Turn off the heat and add the coconut cream and lemon juice.

Serve over rice.

I often soak the lentils in water during the day which speeds up the cooking time. When I do this I drain off the water in which the lentils were soaked and reduce the 3 cups of water to 1¾ cups. But it pays to check the mixture from time to time and to add more water if the mixture is threatening to stick to the pan.  Cast iron pans are brilliant at preventing this.