I need to be honest and tell you that I considered it for a long time if I should post this recipe or not. Don’t get me wrong! It is a mega-delicious ‘one-pot’ meal and I never regretted developing this recipe. But, it is also damn hard to make it look as good as it tastes. It is one of those awesomely-tasting foods which you prefer to make for yourself or for your family, but don’t exactly feel like you will impress the judges of a master-chef audition with it (only because in my opinion those guys care more about aesthetics rather than taste).
Well, I gave it a try anyway and in the end, I think I managed to get some good shots. I am actually pretty content with the result, especially because now I get to share it with you.
I have been going through a lot of changes lately and therefore, I have been neglecting the blog for a while. I do, however, have a lot of projects in the pipe (most of them food related of course) which I hope I will bring to fruition soon.
On a different note, one of my (eternal) on-going projects is re-arranging my pantry. I have been trying all sorts of ways to improve the way I store staple foods in order to make them easy to reach and use, without altering their shelf life. I also own a pretty small and compact kitchen …which doubles the challenge of being efficient. Not to mention that I buy most of my pulses, beans and grains in bulk, which sometimes can become a storage nightmare.
If like me, you never miss lentils and chickpeas in your pantry, then you should definitely give this one-pot recipe a go at least once a month. It makes enough servings that will last you for a couple of days and, like many spice-infused dishes, it even tastes better the second day.
I might be a cooking addict who loves her meals to be freshly taken out of the oven, but I can just as well appreciate the comfort of heating up some delicious ‘leftovers’ when my tummy is growling. It’s fast, tasty and most importantly, it’s not some junk food you ordered because you didn’t have time to cook.
The best thing about this recipe (besides the fact that you basically just throw everything in one pot) is the way it smells while you are cooking it. I simply love the way my hands smell after grating fresh ginger! And the scent that comes out of those spices once they hit the hot oil ….OH.MY.GOD! Best kitchen “freshener” ever!
As I was saying earlier, documenting this recipe has been quite a challenge. If there would be some sort of way to include odour in this posts, my job would’ve been so much easier. But at a certain point, while cooking this recipe, the visuals become almost artsy.
I find it odd that most of the great painters have found the beauty of colours only in raw fruits and vegetables. But then again, they were probably too busy painting to actually cook for themselves or, at least, stir a pot once in a while.
I have recently been to Paris and, this time, I actually managed to visit the famous Louvre Museum and the National Museum of Modern Art. Surprisingly (or maybe not), food is not really among the top 10 artistical inspirations. I really hope it has a lot to do with the lack of light in the kitchens of the past or simply with the artists’ lack of interest in the cooking process. Otherwise, I really don’t understand how the mixture of colors and textures which sizzle in a pot like this couldn’t have caught their attention.
In any case, stepping aside from my unfulfilled dream of being an artist, the finished product of this recipe might end up looking like a lumpy-orange-mashed potatoes dish but it is absolutely delish! Serve it on a bed of Indian sticky rice (or whatever kind of rice you prefer) and munch it up from your favorite bowl.
You might want to go for seconds… Just sayin’!
- 14 fluid ounces / 400 ml coconut milk
- 11 fluid ounces / 350 ml vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons / 45 gr olive oil
- 1 tablespoon / 15 gr cumin
- 1 tablespoon / 15 coriander
- 1 teaspoon / 5 gr ground celery seed
- ½ teaspoon / 2,5 gr red curry
- 1 can chickpeas (about 2 cups / 250 gr of drained product)
- 2½ cups / 575 gr red lentils
- 1 cup / 225 gr peeled and chopped tomatoes
- a thumb sized piece of ginger
- 4 or 5 garlic cloves
- 1 medium chopped onion
- optional: 1 or 2 red hot chillis
- salt and pepper
- Rinse and clean the red lentils and let them drain for about 5 minutes. Depending on what type of lentils you use you will need to perform a more thorough rinse or not. I prefer the pre-cleaned ones and I just give them a 2-minute rinse under cold water.
- Finely grate the ginger and crush the garlic. You can mix them together in small bowl.
- Put the tomatoes in a blender or a food processor and make a smooth liquid paste. Set aside for later.
- Heat up the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot (large enough to allow you to stir freely during cooking), but don't let it heat too much.
- Turn down the heat to low and throw the cumin, coriander, celery and red curry into the tempered oil. Stir vigorously until you feel the spices have released their flavour (about 30 seconds).
- Quickly add the garlic, ginger and onions and continue stirring under a low to medium heat until the onions are a bit golden. Don't allow the garlic to brown! Burned garlic can completely change the taste of a dish.
- Add the vegetable stock to stop the onions from cooking and afterwards add the red lentils. At this point, you can turn the heat to medium and leave it like this for the rest of the cooking time.Let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the coconut milk and continue cooking while stirring from time to time for about 10 more minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and the drained chickpeas to the pot, them in and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
- When the cooking time is over make sure you cover the pot and let it rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before placing the dahl on a plate.
It is best served with Indian Basmati rice.