As an almost-always vegetarian, dahl is a staple in my diet. I learnt to cook this at age 13 from my favourite Home Economics teacher: an Indian woman name Atika.
I almost always cook it in bulk: it freezes and defrosts beautifully, it goes on toast, it turns into soup, and can be used to bulk up stews, curries, and even pasta sauces if they need it.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
1 cup of dried lentils (I like Toor dahl best, but red lentils from the supermarket do in a pinch).
1 heaped tsp of vegetable stock powder
2 cups of water
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp tumeric
A splash of oil
Put the water, stock powder and dried lentils into a pot, and turn the stove onto high.
Bring the water to the boil, making sure it doesn't over flow.
Turn the stove down to medium, and stir. It doesn't need heaps of stirring, just enough to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom and burn. I'm a lazy cook, and often a busy cook: I'll read a book, and stir every time a finish a chapter. Or I'll clean the kitchen, and stir every 5 minutes.
The lentils will be cooked in 20 minutes but they won't be harmed by over cooking, so long as you add more water if you need to.
While the lentils are cooking, dice an onion, and cut up or squash your garlic.
Heat a little oil in a frypan, and add your garlic and onion.
When the onion is translucent add the rest of your spices, stir, and cover with a lid.
When you hear the mustard seeds 'pop', remove from the heat immediately. Frying the spices gives a sweeter flavour, but if you leave them to cook longer you will bring out more bitterness.
When the lentils are done, tip everything from the fry-pan into the pot, and stir.
Serve hot with rice, yoghurt and any other curries you like.
Be careful of splashes while the dahl is boiling.
Dahl is an easy recipe to alter. I often add a handful of chopped spinach to it, or sliced up soy bacon. Realistically, whatever left-over veg you have in your fridge you can use in dahl.
It's a high protein meal too, so despite it tasting incredible, it's good for you too!