When the cooler and earlier evenings set in, I start to favour more warming meals like curries, casseroles, and soup. This is a delicious vegetarian dahl (a mild lentil curry) with warming ginger and spices is perfect to take the edge of the cooler temperatures at the end of the day.
Split red lentils are a staple in my kitchen during Autumn and Winter – a handful added to soups and curries makes the meal go further without much cost, and adds a healthy dose of soluble fibre, vitamins and minerals.
This dahl would be easy to serve dairy-free/vegan – just swap out the yoghurt for coconut yoghurt when you come to serve.
- oil 2 tablespoons
- onion 1, diced
- garlic 2 cloves, chopped
- ginger 3cm piece, peeled and grated or finely chopped
- kaffir lime leaf 2 small, or 1 large, tough central stem removed, finely sliced
- ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, garam masala 1 teaspoon each
- coconut milk 1 x 400mL can
- tomato paste 3 tablespoons
- water 2 cups
- dried split red lentils 1 cup
- butternut 500g, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
- tomatoes 3, roughly chopped
- ground chilli ½ teaspoon (optional)
- sugar 1 teaspoon
- salt ½ teaspoon
- lemon juice of 1
- spinach or silverbeet 120g, chopped (optional)
- natural unsweetened yoghurt ½ cup (use coconut yoghurt for dairy-free)
- coriander ¼ - ½ cup (leaves and stalks)
- roasted cashew nuts 1/3 cup, chopped (optional)
- Heat oil in a large fry pan or pot on medium heat, cook onion for 4-5 minutes until golden. Add garlic, ginger and kaffir lime and cook for 1 minute. Add another drizzle of oil and spices and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add about ¼ – ½ cup of the coconut milk and stir to prevent spices burning.
- Stir in remaining coconut milk, tomato paste, water, lentils, butternut, tomatoes, chilli (if using), sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover partially and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, or until lentils and butternut are soft. Stir a few times during cooking to make sure lentils don’t burn and stick to bottom of the pan. Add a little extra water if it looks like it is drying out too much.
- Stir spinach or silverbeet (if using) through dahl at the end, and season with lemon juice and more salt to taste if needed.
Garnish dahl with yoghurt, coriander and cashew nuts (optional), and serve with steamed rice.