Make Dhal: thrifty, yummy, practically perfect

I probably cook dhal once a week. We all love it. It’s yummy, uncomplicated quick as anything and costs literally pence to make, especially if you buy your lentils, turmeric and cumin from Indian grocers. I always stock up over on Stapleton Road here in Bristol. Red or yellow – they’ll both do the trick.

Oh, I mustn’t forget to mention, dhal is healthy too! Provided you go easy on the oil and salt (I sometimes make a mistake with the latter as we like salty food). It’s also gluten-free and dairy-free, obviously, which is pretty important ’round these parts.

I’ve had a few conversations with people lately who’ve said they’re unsure about making dhal so I thought I’d remove the mystery around this simplest of foods and share how I bosh it together for 6-8 helpings, depending on how thin I make it. There really is no fancy foodie trick here.

What you need
1 cup of lentils (red or yellow)
1 tsp turmeric
4 cloves of garlic – crushed
sunflower or olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin

What you do
Wash and drain 1 cup of lentils. Set lentils in 2 cups of water to boil. When the water begins to simmer, mix in 1 teaspoon of turmeric and two crushed cloves of garlic. Lower the heat if the pot begins to boil over. Spoon off the white stuff at the top if you like but I don’t always bother if there’s not much, having rinsed the lentils beforehand. When the lentils are soft (this will take mere minutes), remove the pot from the heat. In a separate pan, fry remaining garlic in sunflower or olive oil, mixing in 1 teaspoon of ground cumin. When the garlic begins to brown, remove the pan from the heat. Pour the lentil contents into the pan and mix to combine everything. If you think your dhal is a bit thick (thinner is better, really) then just add some hot water. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve with rice.

Make dhal - thrifty, yummy, perfect