So after spending most of my lunch breaks explaining to people what the hell it is I am actually eating, I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring and climb on the “let’s take photos of our food and pretend that we’re not eating it straight out of the saucepan with a spoon in our pyjamas at three o’clock in the morning” wagon and post some of my successes in the kitchen (and tell you about some of the cock ups too!)
Today was a long day. And when I say long I mean – fourteen hours of non-stop barista badassery. I had to open the shop by myself as one of my colleagues had called in sick and though that might seem like an easy feat, with three hours sleep and a queue to the door, half past seven in the morning never seemed further away from half past seven in the evening in my life.
When I got home I was starving as at work I am mainly limited to eating toast or these random biscuits that came with the last campaign that are totally free from everything and as a result are dry and powdery and not all that pleasant but manna from the heavens when I’m tired and forgot to bring lunch with me.
I was torn between pasta, the staple of the poor vegan and rice, another versatile staple that I lean on like a sticky bar at closing time but sitting there, glinting at me in the corner of my kitchen was a jar of red lentils that I’ve only used a handful of times since it’s been refilled, opting instead this month for heavy carb based meals that take little to no effort. It’s been a month of sickness and tiredness and at many times a combination of the two. So I decided I would make dhal!
It took about twenty minutes start to finish though I will leave it overnight to become as sexy as possible before attacking it tomorrow lunch time with some garlic naan bread. So, for those of you interested, here is how you make quick, extraordinarily cheap and most important, bombastic dhal at home from scratch!
Prep time – 5-10 minutes
Cooking time – 20-30 minutes
Serves four people generously!
- 2 cups of red lentils (soaked overnight if possible)
- 1 large white onion
- 3-5 cloves of garlic (depending on how much you like the stuff)
- 1 tin of chickpeas (drained)
- 1 chopped, deseeded (if you like) green chilli
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chilli powder (however hot you like it)
- 1 tsp garam masala (I didn’t add this as it usually contains nutmeg and I’m allergic to it but it would taste amazing in this dish so y’all go ahead and add that in!)
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
Add the lentils to a big pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and stir in the turmeric. Continue to cook on a low heat until the water is absorbed and set aside.
In another pan add you dry spices and toast them lightly. You don’t want to burn them! The easiest way to know when they’re ready is when you can smell them and they start to release a little of their oil into the pan. Take them off the heat and set aside.
In the same pan you toasted the spices in chuck in a table spoon of butter and let it soak up all the lovely stuff before adding the onion, chilli and garlic, all finely chopped. Cook on a low heat until the onions turn clear then add the spices and the other tablespoon of butter in. Add in a can of drained chickpeas. Cook the mixture until most of the moisture is gone and the veggies are coated in delicious spicy goodness.
Check that your lentils are soft and add the spiced veggie mix to the lentils, stirring gently to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Salt and pepper to taste and you’re done! I topped mine with dried coriander but y’all can add what you like.
I love this stuff. It’s so cheap and versatile. I add it to wraps, stir some into a loose soup to thicken it up and give it some flavour, it freezes really well and is perfect just on it’s own with some pitta for dipping!
If you try it let me know how it goes 🙂