I get more excited about non-meat recipes these days than anything. I almost always choose non-meat dishes in restaurants as I find them so much more interesting than a lump of meat on a plate.
This is lovely just served with some boiled rice.
11 oz red lentils
1 heaped tsp freshly grated ginger
A handful of cilantro stalks finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped
14 fl oz coconut milk
15 oz tin of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp of mustard seeds
1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped
8 curry leaves (fresh is best or dried)
4 oz baby spinach leaves
juice of 1 lemon
3 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
salt and pepper
Put the lentils into a heavy-based pan with the ginger, cilantro stalks and a teaspoon of salt then pour over the coconut milk and about 21 fl oz of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, adding the tomatoes after 10 minutes.
After 30 minutes the lentils will have broken down and will be thick and creamy. Then whisk until the mixture becomes smooth. If it is too thick then you can add a little more water. Leave to simmer gently while you get the spice mixture ready.
Heat the oil in a small heavy-based frying pan. Add the turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, mustard seeds, red chilli and curry leaves. Leave them to temper. The oil should be bubbling and the seeds popping. This will take about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Stir straight into the lentils reserving 1 tablespoon. Be careful, as the mixture may spit a little. Whisk until well combined and then stir in the baby spinach, lemon juice and spring onions. Test for seasoning and put some salt and pepper in, it if it needs it, but it may not.
Ladle the dahl into bowls, then sprinkle over the cilantro leaves, reserved spices and spring onions to serve.