Saturday, 6 October 2012

Rice and dhal

I was recently told that dhal means something along the lines of ... spices put in at the end... the wording which was used - and I can't even remember how I found it out - was more glamorous.  Up until this point I thought dhal was generic for lentils.  I have tried this interpretation a few times now - and I think is is the secret!  I have made lentil based curries (or as I thought dhal... with lentils, veg and spices cooked together) for years - and though they are OK - they have never been as delish as some of the dhal I had whilst living near Southall, London - or from the "curry mile" in Rusholme, Manchester.  This dhal is basically boiled lentils, with a roasted spice hot sizzly oil chucked in right at the end - it's fresh and spiky - and makes a huge difference.

Rice - basmati
Lentils - yellow (other types are fine too)

1 tsp Fennel seeds
1 hottish chili
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 curry leaf
Garam masala mix
Olive oil

Natural yogurt

1.  Rinse lentils and put on to simmer in plenty of water, for about 30 minutes (depends on lentils - you want to cook them until soft).  I also chucked in about a quarter of the finely chopped onion, just for the savouriness, but you don't have to.  Don't let the lentils get dry, spoon any scum off the top as you go.
2.  Rinse rice, and cook it as you know how ... I bring it to the boil on the hob, water 1 inch above the rice - lid on and in low oven until all the water is soaked in... at least 20 minutes, but can sit there happily for ages.
3.  When the lentils are nearly ready - roast whole spices and the chili in a dry frying pan.  As soon as the aroma ramps up chuck in olive oil, finely chopped onion, then finely chopped garlic and any powdered spices, add salt now.  Heat through for a few minutes.  Chuck sizzling oil/spice mixture into cooked lentils - stir in... this is the revelation!  It makes an enormous difference.

Ideally you would serve as part of a gorgeous mixture of wet and dry dishes ... but I was on my own, so a splodge of yogurt and this was it - but it was DELISH!

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