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Lentil dahl (oil-free)

February 20, 2013

I made this recipe because I’m often too lazy to make tarka dahl which involves frying spices, garlic and curry leaves and adding it all, including the oil, to the dahl mixture at the end. And sometimes I just fancy something lower in fat content, so I make this instead.

The key ingredients are the lentils, chili, turmeric, lemon juice which taste fantastic together, seasoned with a little salt. In my opinion, everything else is optional and a matter of personal taste. The ginger and garlic can add depth to the dish and the cumin and coriander are a lovely combination but often I leave them out and keep things simple.

about 1/2 litre of water — more if the mixture gets too thick
about 200g red lentils, rinsed
about 100g chickpeas, cooked
1 mild chili, finely chopped
1/2 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 fresh tomato, chopped (optional)

1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin (optional)
1/2 tsp ground coriander (optional)
1/2 tsp salt (sea salt for preference)

juice 1/2 lemon

Add all of the ingredients except for the lemon juice to a pan and bring to the boil. Turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. The lentils should be mostly disintegrated creating a thick soup-like consistency. Add the lemon juice, stir, check for salt and serve. Garnish with fresh coriander if available.

Tomato-free bolognese sauce

June 1, 2012

Like bolognese but can’t eat tomatoes? Try this sauce. I made it when I ran out of tomatoes and was quite pleased with the results. The red wine, lemon juice and tamari sauce combine with the stock giving it a rich flavour with a mild citrus bite and the gently-cooked onion and garlic lend it a subtle sweetness. Combined with veg and some kind of mince, you won’t miss the lack of tomato.

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
about 75ml red wine
about 300ml stock
1 tbsp tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp rice flour (or alternative to thicken)
1/2 red pepper
about 200g of mixed veg such as peas/sweetcorn/spinach/etc
handful of Quorn or pre-soaked soya mince
sprinkle of onion seeds (not essential but nice a very addition)
salt and pepper to taste
handful chopped basil

Gently fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the wine and simmer for a minute or two. Add the onion seeds (if using), stock, tamari sauce, lemon juice and rice flour. Bring back to a boil, stirring frequently. The sauce should have thickened a little. Add the red pepper, veg and mince and bring back to boil again. Reduce heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes. The sauce should be fairly thick and the veg nicely cooked at this point. If not, increase the cooking time. Finally, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper.

Indian-style garlic and coconut chutney

March 25, 2011

A delicious sugar-free and vinegar-free spicy chutney.

3 cloves garlic
One mild green chili, deseeded
1 medium bunch coriander
2 mint leaves
50g creamed coconut
juice of 1/2 lime
approx 150-200ml sunflower oil
1 tsp salt

Chuck all ingredients into a blender and process until well incorporated and texture is medium-smooth. It should have the consistency of a sauce. Taste and adjust.

Spicy celery soup

November 23, 2010

Light and delicate. Perfect for summer.

Serves 3 to 4

1 litre veg stock
Roughly 100ml white wine
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely or crushed
About 1/2 head of celery, washed and thinly sliced (save the celery leaves)
1 small yellow, chopped
1 mild chili left whole
1 bay leaf
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
salt to taste
About 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Gently fry onion, garlic, celery and yellow pepper in a large saucepan until soft. Add the wine and simmer for a minute before adding the stock. Bring to the boil and add the whole chili, black pepper, bay leaf and parsley. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat. Rescue the chili and bay leaf and blend. Add salt and lemon juice to taste, bring back to simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve, garnishing with chopped celery leaves.

Tomato and butter bean soup

September 14, 2010

I wanted something nourishing to eat after a having some fillings at the dentist but not too taxing for my teeth. This is what I made and is it simple and delicious!

Serves 2

500ml tomato juice or 400g tin chopped tomatoes plus 100ml extra water
100ml water
100ml red wine
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tin (about 200g) butter beans, drained
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely or crushed
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
salt to taste

Gently fry onion and garlic in a large saucepan until soft. Add the wine and simmer for a minute before adding the tomato juice (or tin of tomatoes) and water. Bring briefly to the boil and add the black pepper and basil. Reduce heat to gentle simmer for about 10 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve.

Tarka Dahl

September 5, 2010

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely or crushed
1″ fresh ginger chopped finely
1 fresh mild chili, chopped finely
2 medium, ripe tomatoes, diced
200g red lentils, rinsed
1/2l of liquid (combination of stock, water, a little wine)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
2″ stick of cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp groundnut oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander for garnish (optional)

For the tarka spices
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp dried, crushed chili (not ground. If you haven’t got it, leave it out or use fresh chili)
1 tbsp olive oil

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium flame. Add the chili, ginger, onion and garlic and fry gently. When the onion and garlic turns golden, stir in the liquid and add the lentils and bay leaf. Increase heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and add the remaining spices and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes. The lentils should break down and thicken the dahl to a consistency of a thick soup. You may need a little water to stir in if it gets too thick. When you are happy with the consistency, stir in the lemon juice and check for seasoning.

Heat a frying pan with the oil for the tarka spices over a medium-hot flame. Add the cumin, mustard and coriander seeds and stir until the mustard seeds start to pop. The spices should start to brown and become fragrant. Remove the frying pan from the heat and pour the tarka spices and the oil into the dahl. Stir the dahl to swirl the oil and spices in. Check for seasoning and serve as a side dish or with rice as a main dish. Garnish with fresh coriander if desired.

For a vegetable curry try adding a medium potato and a courgette, diced, and 1 tbsp tomato puree when adding the lentils and liquid. Throw in a handful of fresh, chopped spinach five minutes before you remove the dahl from the heat.

Simplicity celery soup

July 24, 2010

A simple celery soup recipe for four.

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 mild chili, deseeded and chopped finely
1 head celery, washed and sliced thinly
1 bunch fresh parsley, washed and chopped coursely
1 tbsp olive oil
1200ml stock or water with stock cube/powder
1 tsp sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 bay leaf

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion, garlic and chili for a couple of minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the celery and cook very gently for a further 10 minutes until the celery is softening. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the salt and a few twists of black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon of course-ground) and reduce to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and add most of the parsley, reserving some for garnish. Blend carefully and return to the heat, bringing back to a simmer for a couple of minutes.

Adjust seasoning and serve with the fresh parsely sprinkled on top with a couple of twists of black pepper.

When adding the parsley, add the juice of 1/2 a lemon.