Easy Dahl with Brown Rice

Dahl is one of my favourite things to eat when I go out for Indian or Nepalese food. It has such a lovely mushy texture and is full of flavour.

Legumes (i.e. lentils) are a great source of fibre, protein, vitamin B1 and minerals. Best of all, they are very low in fat!* I usually cook this dish using chana dal, which is split chick peas.

If you don't have chana dal you can use yellow lentils, mung dahl, split brown lentils or yellow split peas instead. I usually get my chana dal from the organic markets at Northey Street on a Sunday or an organic store. You can also find chana dal at Indian grocery stores.

The original recipe is from a book I received from my wonderful friends last year for my birthday titled Eating for the Seasons by Janella Purcell. I am posting my slightly varied recipe by popular demand following a small get-together where my vego friends couldn't believe how great it was!

What you need to serve four lucky people:
  • 1 cup chana dal 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1/2 cup of celery, diced
  • 1 heaped tbsp each of ground cumin, turmeric and garam masala
  • 700 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 cup chopped coriander leaves to garnish
  • 1 lemon quartered, to serve
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or ghee
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup natural yoghurt
  • 1 cup brown rice
How to cook it:
  • Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a pot over medium heat, saut√© the onion in the oil until soft - this should take around 2 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, ginger and celery to the pot and cook for another minute.
  • Add the spices and stir together with the onion mixture. 
  • Stir the chana dal through the spice mixture and then add the stock and bay leaf to the pot. 
  • Bring the pot to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the chana dal is soft.
  • While the chana dal is cooking rinse the brown rice thoroughly and put into a pot. Cover with 2.5 cups of water and bring to the boil. 
  • Once the rice is boiling reduce to a simmer and cook for around 20 minutes until just tender. Take off the heat and cover with a lid.
  • Taste the chana dal and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Drain the rice if necessary and serve onto four plates. Top with dahl mixture, coriander, 1 heaped tsp of yoghurt and a wedge of lemon.
  • Enjoy!

Make it naughty: It is pretty much impossible to make this dish naughty, it is too healthy. Maybe if you had it with some butter chicken on the side, then it would be.

Make it healthier:  Add vegetables like carrot, pumpkin, eggplant or sweet potato in with the onions.

Variations: You can use fresh grated turmeric and cumin seeds instead of the ground powder.