Spinach and coconut dahl

A few posts ago I had to profusely apologise for my lack of blogging, which was mostly blamed on a few weeks working in India. It was a brilliant trip and although most of the time was taken up in the office, I did manage to experience a lot of fantastic Indian food! However, I came back needing a bit of a break from all things spice and curry related so it has taken until this weekend for me to again venture towards the spice rack!

I ate a lot of different but amazing dahls while I was over there, and this seemed to be a good place to start trying to recreate the foods I was eating as it’s pretty easy to make! I stumbled on this recipe in the back of a free Marks and Spencer magazine that I was flipping through while waiting for a friend to come out of the changing rooms and gave it a go yesterday!

You will need the following (to serve 4):

  • 280g split red lentils
  • 2 red chillies
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 125 g baby spinach leaves

Firstly, soak the lentils in a bowl of cold water for 30 minute. While these are soaking de-seed and slice one of the chillies and set aside, and de-seed and chop the other. Toast 2 tsp of the cumin seeds and 1 tsp of the coriander seeds in a frying pan and then crush along with the garlic and chopped chilli.

Once the lentils have soaked, fry the onion in 1 tbsp of the oil until softened, before adding the crushed spices and frying for about another minute. Drain the lentils and then add them to the pan, stirring over a low heat for a couple of minutes.

Add 450ml water along with some salt to season and bring to the boil before simmering for 10-15 minutes. Then add 125ml of coconut milk and simmer for another 10 minutes before adding the spinach.

Fry the remaining coriander and cumin seeds in the rest of the oil for about a minute then remove from the heat.

To serve, ladle out the dahl, and top with the remainder of the coconut milk, the spiced oil and the sliced chilli. Eat with naan bread or chapatis.

Now I have to admit this seemed a little bland compared to some of the more flavoured dahls that I had in India – will definitely play around with this recipe and a couple of others, but not a bad start! I think my chillis were pretty mild so I perhaps needed a bit more than I used. Any dahl recipe suggestions welcome!

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