LENTILS are another of our true superfoods and this week our chef Simon Smith has produced a fabulously tasty recipe for vegan dhal, always a favourite with any Indian meal. Simon, head chef at Tameside hospital in Manchester, says:
“Lentils, like other beans, are rich in dietary fibre which helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome. In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, soluble fibre helps stabilise blood sugar levels.
If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, legumes like lentils can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Studies of high fibre diets and blood sugar levels have shown the dramatic benefits provided by these high fibre foods
This simple dish is easily produced using any combination of vegetables of the chef’s liking. It’s always fun to experiment with different vegetables to give variety to the dish. And at the end of the recipe I tell you how to make your own curry powder to spice it all up if that’s how you like it. Enjoy!”
Swift vegan dahl
Preparation time: 10mins
Cooking time 20mins
- 50g Red Lentils
- 1 Aubergine
- 1 medium Onion
- 1-2 red and yellow peppers
- 1 head leek
- ½ head Fennel
- 1 courgette
- 100g pumpkin or butternut squash
- 50g Mangetout
- 1 Carrot
- 1 Beef Tomato
- 1/2 small bag Baby Spinach
- 2 stems Spring Onion
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1/2 tsp fresh chopped Ginger
- 1 fresh Chilli (optional)
- Curry powder to taste (optional – 1tbsp for a hot dahl)
- ½tsp Mixed Spice
- 2 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 50g Fresh Coriander
- 2tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1tsp Honey (not for vegans, of course!)
- 50ml Vegetable Stock
- 1 Casserole pan & spoon
- 1 small saucepan
- Mixing bowls
- Chopping board
- Small Vegetable Knife
- Chop all the vegetables except the beef tomatoes, garlic, baby spinach, mangetout and the spring onions, into large pieces and place into a bowl.
- Add, curry powder, mixed spice, garlic (chopped), ginger, chopped chillies, thyme sprigs and ½ the fresh coriander and the whole sprigs of thyme. Stir into the vegetables allowing the mixture to coat every piece. Mix in 2 spoons of sesame oil and allow the mixture to rest.
- Place the red lentils and clovesinto the saucepan, cover with water and place on to a high heat. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils cook to a puree.
- Heat the casserole pan on a medium setting and when it is hot add the vegetable mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and stir the veg. Place a lid on the pan and allow to cook slowly for approx. 10min. When you check the pan the vegetables should be simmering in their own juices. Add the chopped beef tomatoes and enough veg stock to just cover the vegetables.
- Simmer with the lid on for 5 more mins then add the mangetout, sliced spring onions, baby spinach and the pureed lentil mix.
- Add the honey and allow to cook for an additional 5min on medium to low heat
- Check the seasoning. Stir in the last of the fresh coriander and serve.
How to make your own curry powder
I’ve indicated in the ingredients list that curry powder is optional. Here’s an important tip: to get the best flavours from a good curry powder you should make it yourself. Here’s one of my favourite recipes. Once you’ve made it, it will keep for a long time in an airtight jar.
- 4 tablespoons ground coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons mustard seed
- 2 teaspoons ground fenugreek seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chilli powder
Lightly toast all the seeds for a couple of minutes under a medium grill, stirring occasionally, grind them in a grinder or a mortar and pestle and combine with the other powders. Store in an airtight jar to retain the flavours.