A typical dinner when I'm home alone is heavy on pulses and greens. Last night I made my favourite store-cupboard dinner lentil dal, and served it with pak choi that had simply been browned in groundnut oil, plum & chilli jam and plain yoghurt.
The dal recipe is one I was given years ago by a woman called Sumudu whom I met on a BTCV weekend break. The only thing that niggles me slightly about it is that it uses two pans, but I have learned to live with it. It's very simple to make, yet tasty and substantial.
My apologies that most of the quantities here are 'some'. I seem to remember that Sumudu learned the recipe from her mother and these were the quantities she passed on.
Red lentils (estimate depending on how many you are serving to, and whether it's a main course or side dish)
Dried mixed herbs
Spice quantities are for two:
Put the red lentils in a pan and wash in warm water two or three times. Then fill the pan with cold water up to about an inch above the level of the lentils. Add a teaspoon of curry powder, the same of turmeric, a bit of chilli powder to suit your taste and half a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until the lentils are breaking down but not too mushy. Don't let all the water evaporate - top up if necessary.
Grind a bayleaf, three or four cloves, half an inch of cinnamon stick (or use ready ground) and the seeds of a few cardamom in a grinder. Fry gently in some oil with the chopped onion, one crushed garlic clove and a teaspoon of mixed herbs.
Once the onion is soft (about five to ten mins), tip the lentil mix into it and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to check that it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
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