Sometimes a bowl of warm spiced dahl is all I feel like. This is my go-to dahl recipe. It is the bite-into-a-cardamom-pod type of dahl. Not bland at all, but still gentle. Dahl is a very healthy (and cheap) vegetarian/vegan dish. Do not be put off by the recipe list - dahl is simple to make. I suggest you make a big batch - it freezes well and makes a great lunch. The curry leaves are essential - easy to grow in the subtropics all year round.
Cardamom spiced yellow dahl
Makes 4 generous bowls
2 cups toor dahl (pigeon peas), rinsed well
6 1/2 cups water
2 vegetable stock cubes
20 whole cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 red onion, finely diced
4 long green chillies (optional - this is the only aspect that makes the dahl hot)
2 tbs coconut oil
1 generous tsp brown mustard seeds
4 curry leaf branches (approximately 4 dozen leaves)
4 dried red chillies, torn into pieces (seeds removed if you do not like too much chili heat)
1 tin tomatoes
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
Place the toor dahl, water, vegetable stock cubes, cardamom, cinnamon and turmeric in a large heavy based pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
Add the cumin powder, 1/2 of the onion and the green chillies if using. Continue to simmer.
In a frying pan, heat the coconut oil. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and the dried red chilli pieces. Fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the remaining half of the onion and cook until soft. Add the tin of tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are broken down and have thickened slightly.
Test the dahl to ensure the toor dahl is soft. Turn off the heat. Add the tomato spice mix, the coconut milk and the salt.
Serve warm with lemon chutney.