Dhal - Makes approx 3 portions but freezes well
200g, 7oz Red lentils
900ml, 1.5 pints boiling water
For the paste
1 tsp oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 dried red chilli, finely chopped (including seeds if you like it hotter)
1 tsp grated ginger
200g, 7oz chopped tinned (canned) tomatoes (half a UK can) or use fresh tomatoes when they're in season
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
a few grinds of black pepper
80g, 3oz frozen chopped spinach
1/2 tsp salt
For the oil 'tarka'
1 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
Don't be put off by the long ingredients list, most of this can be prepared as you go.
Put the red lentils and water in a saucepan, bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer until fully cooked. Stir frequently as the lentils can catch. Lentils vary widely on how long they take to cook, they can take 40 minutes allegedly (they never seem to for me) or as little as this initial 10 minute boil so keep an eye on them and also stir regularly.
When the lentils are cooked, stir in the spinach and cook until fully heated through. Add in the paste and heat through until bubbling.
When ready to serve, heat the remaining 1 tsp oil in a frying pan and fry the seeds until they're starting to pop (don't burn). Pour onto the dhal and stir in.
If you have some fresh coriander (cilantro) to serve, add that in, I also like it with a generous dollop of mango chutney. Equally at home and comforting on it's own, as lovely as a cuddle with a naan bread or chapatti, also great with rice or a side dish for chicken tikka.
It's worth freezing in small portions so you can then feel properly loved having a thali another time.
If you like this vegetarian curry, you might like Saag Paneer
I've linked this up to the happy green natural party blog hop.