I was incredibly lucky to visit India a few years ago for a traditional Indian wedding. Man, they knew how to party! We were hosted by the bride’s family for over a week, during which we were invited to no less than 4 parties, as well as other activities being laid on including kite flying, a henna body art session, a live musical, trips to the local market and temple plus an England versus India cricket match.
There can be rivalries at any wedding, but the pressure was on during the game; played in the hotel car park, with live commentary over a PA system and plenty of inter-team banter. The family even provided team uniforms and awards after the game. I was pleased to collect a trophy in recognition of my excellent wicket keeping and apparently also for my jazzy shorts! All this and I’ve not mentioned the food, which was stunning and most vibrant food I’ve ever tasted.
This particular dish we had more than once whilst away and it always reminds me of a brilliant trip plus the incredible hospitality of the smiling people we met.
This is a super simple and delicious dish, and whilst you’d normally expect it as a side to your curry, it’s also great as a daytime snack on its own or with a jacket spud, which is what I went for. You can add all manner of random stuff to Dahl and the below is a great starting point:
- Vegetable stock
- One white onion
- Three or four garlic cloves
- A fresh chilli
- Garam masala
- Curry powder
Fill a large saucepan with water, adding veggie stock cubes and bring to a high boil. Add as many lentils as you want, ensuring the water more than cover them – you can add more later later if needed. Put a lid on the saucepan and let it bubble away as the lentils soften.
Finely chop the onion and fry in a little oil to soften. Finely chop the garlic and chilli and add to the fry pan after a couple minutes. Now comes the spices; I’ve never really been one for particularly precise measurements, but trial and error works fine too! Add at least two decent shakes of all the spices, three or four of turmeric. This should already be quite punchy but also add more curry powder if that’s what you’re into.
Keep checking the saucepan of lentils, stirring and adding extra water when needed. Taste the lentils until you’re happy they are cooked through and soft. At this point, mix the spiced onions into the cooked lentils. I also added some spare dill into the mix, which was also pretty good. Enjoy!
P.s. This time I had the lentils with a jacket. Everyone has their own method for the perfect jacket potato, mine is simply coating the skin in oil and a decent grind on sea salt and cook at 200 degrees, until the skin is crispy.