Dhal: winter comfort

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Dhal: winter comfort

This week Abigail Donnelly shares a recipe for one of her weekly favourites: dhal, a spicy Indian soup starring lentils.

I am really fond of dhal and make a pot of it at least once a week. There is something about its comforting, clean flavour that I love. It’s packed with protein and I love its texture and how easy and cheap it is to make.
Each time I make it a bit differently and add whatever I feel like from my spice cupboard.

There are no rules with making dhal, but I would recommend that you only add salt at the end to prevent the lentils from being tough. The first thing I learnt about making it was which lentil to use. You get whole green, red and brown lentils, and then you get the split ones that you use to make dhal.

Start by frying chopped onions, garlic, ginger and ripe tomatoes. Add the lentils, then add stock or water. I use water because of all the spices I add. Use enough water to cover the lentils, then double it. Add more if necessary while it’s cooking. Split lentils will take about 30 minutes to cook. Add whatever you fancy from the list below:

Breyani mix
Cinnamon sticks
Curry leaves
Dried chilli
Garam masala
Ground coriander
Ground cumin
Leaf masala
Mustard seeds

Season with salt at the end and add a handful of chopped coriander if you like. I have been tempted to stir through a can of coconut milk too; I think that could work really well.

I eat dhal with a dollop of yoghurt or some date chutney, and the other day I drizzled some moskonfyt over it. If you’re lucky enough to know when loadshedding will happen, bung everything into a slow-cooker, be easy on the liquid and it will be ready and hot by the time you get home.
Now go make and make a pot, hire The Hundred-Foot Journey and invite your friends over!

Abigail Donnelly Article by: Abigail Donnelly

Nothing excites Woolworths TASTE's Food Director quite as much as the challenge of dreaming up recipes with innovative new foods – or the thrill of creating deliciousness on a plate with the humblest of ingredients. With Abi by your side, you’ll be a cooking expert in no time at all.

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