Daily Dal

Many years ago I was driving between my visits around Devon’s lanes. There was a recipe spot on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. Meera Sodha was cooking a favourite family recipe of masoor dal, a spicy lentil dish with lots of ginger, garlic, onions and tomatoes.  It sounded absolutely delicious. I decided to give ‘daily dal’ a go. I’m pleased to say that it lived up to expectations and I’ve been making it ever since.

Here’s the link to the recipe so that lazybones here doesn’t have to type it out all over again.   I make a few tweaks for my own version. Firstly I cut down the amount of chilli. I recall that Jenni Murray, the Woman’s Hour presenter, might have found the dal a bit hot when she tried it. I’m with her on that. I can be a bit of a wuss on the spicing front too.  I also add three or four portions of frozen spinach to up its 5 a day creds. If I haven’t got any fresh ginger I substitute a couple of generous teaspoons of the dried stuff. The completed dish isn’t quite as fresh tasting but perfectly acceptable.

I’ve served it here with halloumi, one of those weird east-west fusion dishes where Greece meets India. But the combination of textures and flavours works! I hadn’t been buying ‘squeaky cheese’ for a long time. Hot Stuff said that he didn’t like it but then I discovered that the only time he’d tried it he’d eaten it raw. No wonder. I grilled some for him to try and he now thinks that it’s delicious. The only other addition to our meal was one of my naan breads, defrosted and reheated in the frying pan with a little melted butter.

The recipe makes a massive amount. There’s at least six generous portions so loads of leftovers in our small household. Even though I balked at the rising cost of red lentils it’s very economical. It’s ideal food to have in the freezer in case of a vegan invasion!

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