I’ve been unwell, and so the food in my house has been bland. I know it should be all colourful and wonderful, to fill my sickly body with vitamins, but I get so lazy and it’s not particularly inspirational when you feel lethargic and have no sense of taste, thanks to a stuffy nose. I haven’t been physically unwell in ages, and so I blame my partner for forever bringing home an array of pathogens thanks to his daily visits to sick old people. Thanks, buddy. I kid – I need him to make this money while I sit forever unemployed. That’s right! I’m into month seven of having no workplace to attend. To say my self-esteem is at a low would be an understatement. Luckily I have the most supportive partner ever. And supportive partners need food.
Now that I am well again, I’ve wanted something wholesome, delicious and nourishing for this recovering body. As soon as I start to feel well again, I like to wash all of the bedclothes, vacuum every single nook and cranny and generally try to rid the house of any spots of residual sickness. While I was unwell, I found an old dalh recipe using urad dalh and it looked deliciously dark and exactly what I felt like eating. When I choose a recipe, I would never usually go for something like this. In fact, a curry without cumin and coriander rarely gets me keen. But the darkness of the colour won me over and I’m so happy that I was shallow enough to make it. Mustard, garam masala and lemon give this dish it’s flavour, and provide a tangy depth that I’m now a big fan of. I love being surprised by a new flavour combination! Going to the effort of using dried lentils might seem a bother, but most of the time this dish happily cooks unattended so it isn’t nearly as cumbersome as you’d imagine. Yummy and healthy and filling is the ultimate combo!
- 1½ TB mustard seeds
- 250g French Puy lentils, soak overnight
- 1 onion, diced finely
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 inch ginger, chopped
- 2 dried red chillis
- 1 TB garam masala powder
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 250g cherry tomatoes
- 1-2 lemons, juiced
- ¼ cup fresh coriander
- In a hot frying pan, toast the mustard seeds for 2 minutes, until they begin popping. Remove from the pan and set aside until the end of cooking.
- Fry the onions in a hot pan for 10 minutes with ¼ cup water. After 10 minutes, add the garlic, ginger, chilli and garam powder. Fry for 2 minutes, then also add in the tomatoes, dalh, and the stock.
- Allow the pan to simmer gently for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 40 minutes, reduce the heat and if you like, give the dalh a few blasts with a stick blender to add a creaminess.
- Remove from the heat once the lentils are soft but chewy. Add in the mustard seeds.
- Just before serving, stir through the lemon juice. Serve with the coriander, as well as basmati rice and roti bread.