- 500 g yellow or red lentils
- 2 cups water
- 1 t salt
- 3 T oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 t fresh ginger, grated
- 1 small green chilli, diced
- 1 tomato, peeled and diced
- 1 T lemon juice
- 1 t ground turmeric
- 1 t masala
- 1 t ground cumin
- A handful fresh coriander, chopped
- Dumplings or rice, for serving
Soak the lentils in water for 30 minutes.
Cook the lentils in the water, seasoned with salt, until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes, or until tender and thickened. Add more water if necessary to prevent the lentils from drying out.
Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, tomato, lemon juice, turmeric, masala and cumin until the onion is soft.
Add the onion mixture to the lentils, mix well and cook for a further 15 minutes.
Serve with steamed dumplings (idombolo) or rice.
Cook's note: "My late mom, Rose Mabena, raised us four kids on her own. She was an exceptional dressmaker who would come home from the factory and continue sewing to make extra money. On two or three evenings a week she would cook us a wholesome lentil stew with spinach and pap. For us kids it really was like a poverty meal, but we were grateful because some families were worse off and we could look forward to roast chicken with vegetables for Sunday lunch. On a visit to India eight years ago, I tasted dhal curry and all my childhood memories came flooding back and I missed my mom terribly. After that trip, I found myself embracing lentils again.”