An authentic dhal is hard to beat and really worth finding the correct spices for. Store them in airtight containers and use up within 3 months or they will start to loose their flavour. This would also be delicious with a simple piece of steamed fish but I love a bowl of it just on its own.
300g red lentils
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
A handful of coriander, stalks finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped
300ml coconut milk
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
8 curry leaves (fresh is best or dried)
100g baby spinach leaves
juice of 1 lemon
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Put the lentils into a heavy-based pan, with the ginger, the coriander stalks and a teaspoon of salt then pour over the coconut milk and 600ml of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, adding the tomatoes after 10 minutes. After 30 minutes the lentils will have broken down and will be thick and creamy. Then whisk until the mixture becomes smooth. If it is to thick then you can add a little more water. Leave to simmer gently while you get the spice mixture ready.
Heat the oil in a small heavy-based frying pan. Add the turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, mustard seeds, red chilli and curry leaves. Leave them to temper. The oil should be bubbling and the seeds popping. This will take about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir straight into the lentils reserving 1 tablespoon. Be careful, as the mixture may spit a little. Whisk until well combined and then stir in the baby spinach, lemon juice and spring onions.
Ladle the dahl into bowls, then sprinkle over the coriander leaves, reserved spices and spring onions to serve.