Dhal, pronounced like the last name of Roald or Sophie, is a kind of Indian split pea soup that is one of my very favourite compliments to a meal. Served with any rice-based meal, dhal acts as the flavour that marries all others. It adds a hearty richness to the meal that is both high in protein and effortlessly delicious!
The way that I’ve eaten dhal in the past is as a condiment to a pot of steaming biriyani or as a side dish to a two-curry-and-rice dinner. I often forget that there is more than one way to enjoy its unctuous soupiness and with winter close on our heels and a quick reminder over breakfast last week, it was decided.
While this dish, is great in the traditional sense it can also be enjoyed with a piece of fresh baguette on a day when all that matters is flushed cheeks and quiet satisfaction.
¼ cup dry red lentils
1 whole clove of garlic
1 – 2 T olive oil
¼ tsp mustards seeds
¼ tsp jeera seeds (cumin)
4 curry leaves
¾ large onion sliced finely
1 -2 chillies split lengthways
handful of fresh dhania (coriander)
In a small pot, wash the dry red lentils until the water runs clear. Cover with boiling water until there is 1.5cm of water over the lentils. Add the clove of garlic and boil until softened. Using a hand blender, blend the softened lentils and clove of garlic. Put to one side.
Whilst you slice your onion, heat the oil until it is hot enough to make the seeds pop. The jeera and mustard seeds shouldn’t burn but simply flavour the oil. Add in the onion, chilli and curry leaves with a pinch of salt. Cover and allow the onions to turn translucent. Add in the softened pea mixture, salt to taste and allow to come to the boil. Chop dhania leaves and stems and add to the dish once it has been taken off the heat.