Dal With Chickpeas And Spinach

If you haven’t gathered yet, I’m a massive fan of one pot meals.  They’re a God send and also a bit of a necessity for me at the moment while we’re in the middle of a lengthy house build.  I only have an outdoor kitchen with a single induction plate, an oven and a slow cooker, which means that when the weather turns colder, as it has started to do here, I want to spend as little time out there as possible.  I seriously cannot wait to move it all indoors, and I’m told that hopefully that’s going to be before Christmas!!  Yay!

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My outdoor cooking space

This dal recipe is so easy to make, packed with plant protein, full of flavour and another budget friendly meal which makes a heap of portions that can be frozen.

Serves 7

Ingredients

2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
3 onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
Small bunch of fresh coriander – stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
400g red lentils
1 ltr vegetable stock
1 tin light coconut milk
3 tins chickpeas
2 tins chopped tomatoes
4 big handfulls baby spinach, roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and ground black pepper
A little sugar

Method

In a large non-stick pan, toast off the cumin and fennel seeds over a medium heat until fragrant.  Set aside.

Fry the sliced onions until they are softened and golden brown (use a little oil if you want, otherwise a few drops of water works fine).  This step is vital.  It may take 10 minutes or so, but the flavour the caramelised onions infuse is wonderful.  Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, all the spices and coriander stalks and fry for a few more minutes.

Now add the lentils, stock, coconut milk, chickpeas and tinned tomatoes and stir together well.  Bring the whole lot to the boil, reduce to a simmer and pop a lid on the pan.  Simmer over a low heat for about 20 minutes.  After this time, give the pot a good stir.  We like our dal when the lentils have completely fallen apart and are smooth and super comforting.  Give it more time, checking every 10 minutes until you’re happy with the consistency.  Add more stock if needed.

Finish off the dal by stirring through the spinach, coriander leaves and lemon juice, seasoning with plenty of salt and pepper to taste, and a little sugar if you like a hint of sweetness.   You can top your dal with some toasted coconut flakes, chopped herbs or even some crispy fried onions.

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Serve with rice or chapattis.

** Note **  This is a great recipe for using a slow cooker.  Fry off the spices, onions, garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander stalks and add to the slow cooker.  Then add the remaining ingredients but only 800ml of stock and set on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.  Finish off as per recipe above.

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