Sunday, 30 October 2011

Dahl with Spinach and Celery Leaves

Dhal - a one-pot-always-appropriate staple. The use of fresh celery leaves adds a unique flavour to this one. This recipe serves 4, and you can eat it with rice if you want to make it more filling.

1 onion, diced
2 tbsp olive oil or vegan margarine
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp asaofetida (leave out if you haven't got it)
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp ground corriander
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp tumeric
2 cups red lentils
4 cups water
1 tin coconut milk (or cream, some people will tell you there is a difference but for practical purposes I think they are interchangeable)
1 tin diced tomatoes, in juice
3 leaves of spinach (silverbeet)
1 loosely packed cup of fresh celery leaves, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice

To Make
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onions until soft and translucent. Add the fennel seeds and fry for a further minute. Add the rest of the spices and stir well to coat the onions. Fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the spices become very fragrant.
2. Add the dry lentils and cook, stirring constantly, for another 2-3 minutes (this makes the lentils hold their shape better when they are cooked).
3. Add the water (I find it is easiest to just add hot water straight out of the kettle), coconut milk and tinned tomatoes and bring to a boil. When boiling reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. 
4. Trim the spinach (remove the thick white stems) and chop up finely. Add the spinach and celery leaves to the dahl and simmer for a further 20 minutes (or until the lentils are cooked). Stir frequently and keep an eye on your water levels, if it starts to get too dry add more boiling water.
5. When lentils are cooked turn off the heat and stir through the lemon juice. Serve. 

Serves 4. 

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