I really thought I had recorded this on here before, but I'm amazed to find that I've overlooked it! This is my fast dhal recipe - great as just a lunchtime snack with a bit of rice or bread, or a delicious protein component to any curry-type meal. The fried onion topping can be neglected if you're in a hurry, or replaced with baghar if you're feeling really authentic. I think I came up with this recipe independently, but it closely resembles Nigella Lawson's recipe. Convergent evolution or forgetful emulation? Either way it's delicious :) Like the aubergine curry I served it with, this serves four.
- one large red sweet potato
- 1 thumb fresh ginger, finely grated
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- a pinch of chilli flakes
- 250g red lentils
- 300ml hot water
- a small white onion, or half a large white onion
Peel the sweet potato and cut into 1cm dice. Fry in a little vegetable oil with the ginger for five minutes, stirring occasionally, to get a bit of caramelisation. Add the spices and lentils, and fry for a further minute. Pour in the hot water, cover and simmer for half an hour, until the lentils are cooked and the sweet potato has collapsed. You may need to stir and top up the water every so often; the end result should be deliciously thick and spoonable, rather than runny. Season with salt after the lentils are cooked - about 1tsp will be needed.
Meanwhile, peel the onion and finely slice into half-moons. Fry gently in a little vegetable oil for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until completely caramelised and just beginning to blacken.
Stir the dhal briskly with a large wooden spoon, or mash roughly with a potato masher, until soft but not pureed. Serve topped with the fried onions.