Perfect Tarka Dhal

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  • Fill a large mug with lentils (ideally orange lentils, white urad dhal, or split mung dhal). Empty the lentils into a strainer and rinse very well. You should keep rinsing the lentils until the water runs clear.
  • Warm a bit of rapeseed oil, butter or ghee in a large saucepan and add the lentils. Cover with at least 1L of water and a sprinkling of sea salt. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat allowing to simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Stir regularly and don’t be shy to add a few splashes of extra water as the lentils cook and the water absorbs. You want the lentils to get tender and the dhal to be smooth and creamy.

While the lentils are simmering, make the tarka, or tempering.

  • Heat some rapeseed oil, ghee or butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add some cumin seeds and about 3 large banana shallots, finely sliced. Cook for around 5 minutes.
  • Add 2 tiny green birds eye chillies, sliced and 2-3 large cloves of garlic, crushed. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes, until the shallots brown and caramelise. Add heaped tablespoons of turmeric and garam masala.
  • If the dhal is too thick, add a bit of hot water and stir. Then, tip the tarka into the dhal, reserving about ¼ of it, and stir it in well.
  • Serve up with the reserved onions scattered on top, fresh coriander, lime wedges, yoghurt, basmati rice or rotis.

 

Chola Palak with Ginger and Kale

Chola and palak, another way of saying channa and saag , the mighty chickpea and spinach.

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  • In a frying pan, dry toast some cumin seeds and black mustard seeds. After a couple minutes, add some rapeseed oil, a few thinly sliced shallots or small onions and sauté for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
  • When the onions begin to brown and cook down, add some sliced garlic cloves, sliced red chilli and a big chunk of ginger cut into matchsticks. Sautee everything for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas and add to the frying pan. Stir well, adding some salt and a generous scoop of turmeric. Lower the heat and allow everything to sizzle a bit, but make sure nothing burns too much.
  • While the chickpeas are sizzling, use a nutribullet or food processor to blitz up a few massive handfuls of spinach, kale, a splash of water and some tomato puree.  (If you don’t want to use a food processor or just don’t have one, roughly but finely chop the spinach kale finely and bash up and bruise it with a spoon or mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small pot, add the water and tomato puree and warm gently until the spinach and kale has wilted, stir to make a ‘rustic’  puree.) It shouldn’t be perfectly pureed, just blitzed up a bit as if you’ve made a really thick spinach smoothie.
  • Transfer the spinach and kale into the pan with the chickpeas, onions, garlic, ginger and chillies. Lower the heat to minimum, or turn off the heat completely and gently fold in the spinach until it’s fully wilted and darkened in colour.
  • Serve with plenty of lime and fresh coriander!

Super Simple Chickpea & Spinach Curry (Chana Saag)

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  • In a deep frying pan, heat up some oil and fry some black mustard and cumin seeds for about a minute, until they become fragrant and pop. Add one large diced onion, stir and fry for about 10 minutes on medium-high heat until they begin to caramelise.
  • When the onions are cooked down, add at least 3 big cloves of crushed garlic, and a big thumb of ginger, grated. Stir for about 3 more minutes and add one can of tinned tomatoesAs you pour in the tomatoes, use a spoon to crush them a bit. Fill about half the can up with water and add to the pan.
  • Raise the heat a bit and cook down for a few minutes until the curry dries out a bit and much of the water has evaporated. Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas and add to the pan.
  • Warm everything through for a couple minutes and then add some ground coriander, chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Stir the tomatoes around in the spicy tomato curry for a minute and then slowly add in a bag of fresh pre-washed spinach, one handful at a time until all the spinach is wilted and incorporated into the curry.
  • Serve with some fluffy rice or chapattis, fresh coriander, a dollop of yogurt and a wedge of lime!

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Golibajae! Savoury Coconut and Yogurt Fritters

If you embrace modest deep-frying endeavours at home your quality of life will improve exponentially.

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  • In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of plain flour, about a handful of grated fresh or desiccated coconut, chopped green chillies, some chopped fresh curry or coriander leaves, and a sprinkling of salt. Add about half a cup of sour yogurt and combine.
  • Slowly add water until you have a lose and sticky batter that slips slowly off of a spoon. Allow the batter to sit and ferment for at least 20 minutes. After fermentation, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Heat a small pot with veg or canola oil until the oil is hot. you’ll know the oil is ready if you drop a lemon seed sized drop of batter into the oil and it sizzles and rises to the top.
  • Drop scoops of the batter into the oil. They should sink to the bottom and very quickly rise to the top of the oil and sizzle more than gently but not super vigorously. Flip them over from time to time until they’re golden on both sides. (This shouldn’t take too long).
  • Remove on to some paper towel and allow the oil to drain as much as possible. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and season with sea salt. Serve with some coconut or mango chutney.

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Quick Mango Chutney

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– Peel and chop at least 2 large ripe mangos into small pieces (don’t worry if the pieces are odd shaped it’ll all cook down anyway!) For an even quicker recipe, try a couple packages of pre-cut mango.

– Chop a red or yellow onion into small pieces, thinly slice one red or green chilli and peel some skin off of a lemon with a vegetable peeler.

– In a small saucepan, dry toast some black mustard seeds  or some Nigella seeds. When the seeds begin to sputter and pop, add a bit of rapeseed  oil, the onions and chillies, stir a bit and then stir in the mango.

– Add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar or honey, stir, add the lemon peel, some salt and a splash of boiling water. Bring to a boil and then simmer.

– Allow the chutney to simmer for as long as possible, using a potato masher to mush down the mango chunks every few minutes or so.

–  When the chutney reaches a soft and sticky consistency you know it’s ready to enjoy!