Tuesday, 17 February 2009

9. Spinach Chana Dal

Now, I make dahl a lot - probably more than anything else - but mine tend to be thick and almost curry-ish rather than light and soupy, and I usually use red lentils. The Lighten Up recipe (from the 'Soupy Food' chapter) uses yellow split peas - or at least I thought it did until I actually read the ingredients list properly two minutes ago and realised I was meant to use split chickpeas. Gaaah! I suppose 'chana' should have been a bit of a clue, but I must have just honed in on the words "yellow split pulse" and assumed they meant split peas. (Which, I was very excited to read on the packet, count as one of your fruit and veg portions! Maybe that shouldn't come as a surprise, what with them being peas and all, but for some reason I've always thought of them as a lentil. )

Anyway, now that I've revealed myself to have the reading skills of a particularly unobservant three-year-old, on with the recipe! You soak the dal for half an hour (come to think of it I remember being surprised that the split pea packet didn't say anything about needing to soak...), then place in a saucepan with water and simmer for twenty minutes. Meanwhile you fry a finely sliced onion with some ginger and cumin seeds, stir through some tinned tomatoes, a sliced mild green chilli, turmeric, cayenne pepper and ground coriander, then tip the mixture into the pan with the dal and cook for another twenty minutes. Mine needed a little bit longer than that, possibly because it was the wrong sodding pulse. Ahem! To finish the soup off you whisk in some garam masala (is it just me or does whisking seem a slightly curious way to incorporate a spice?) and push mounds of spinach into the pan until they're just wilted.
Well, it was tasty (I made the whole recipe for the two of us, and although that did give us seconds I think portions would have been a bit on the mean side if stretching to four). I probably won't cook it again simply because dahl isn't the kind of thing I want a recipe for, but as a one-off change it was very nice indeed. And who knows, maybe it's even better with chickpeas...

Mike says: "Daal is always gooood, and this is basically daal soup with spinach, which is still goood but also perhaps feels more like a meal in its own right over just eating daal. Woot."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

come on Mike!