Today I bring you a simple, nutritious, economical and comforting recipe that can be made predominantly with long-life pantry supplies. I hope that it is of help in these strange times when people may be finding themselves in need of such a recipe.
Perhaps you are trying to use up the contents of your pantry to avoid going to the shops, maybe you are an essential worker who is busier than ever (you can batch cook this meal and it freezes really well), perhaps you are living on a reduced income and are looking for quick and frugal meal ideas or perhaps you find yourself with a little more time on your hands and are enjoying the comfort of pottering in the kitchen.
Whatever brings you here, welcome.. let's cook together.
I often hold back from sharing recipes here on the blog as I am not one of 'those' cooks. I love cook books but use them as inspiration rather than following their recipes verbatim, I like to wing it and get a weird satisfaction out of coming up with recipes on the fly using whatever I have on hand. Then I usually forget how I did it! My recipes generally aren't very fancy or pretty. But when I did a live chat on Instagram the other week, quite a few people asked if I had any go-to recipes that I'd recommend, so.. here we are! My recipes are more of a guide, use what you have, substitute where you can and I'm sure it'll all work out!
Simple Lentil Dahl
3/4 cup dried red lentils
400g can crushed tomatoes, or passata or the equivalent of chopped sautéed tomatoes
Chicken or vegetable stock (or just water if you don't have stock)
1/2 a finely chopped brown onion (you can substitute onion powder, shallots, leek, spring onion etc)
1 clove grated garlic (you can substitute garlic powder)
2-3cm grated fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger (the ginger is my favourite part of this recipe but it still totally works without it)
3 teaspoons ground spices (a mix of whatever you have out of the following - garam masala, turmeric, cumin, coriander, curry powder)
Sauté the onion, garlic and ginger in a generous tablespoon of olive oil, coconut oil or ghee over a low heat.
Add your spices and stir for a minute.
Add you tomatoes and then fill your (now) empty tomato can with stock or water and add that too. Bring to the boil.
Add the lentils and simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir it pretty regularly. Add more stock or water if it is starting to dry out and your lentils aren't cooked yet.
Once the lentils are soft, they're cooked! You want it thicker than soup but not quite as thick as a risotto.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Sometimes I throw frozen peas in right at the end. Sometimes I throw a big handful of baby or English spinach leaves in for the last couple of minutes of cooking. Sometimes I add grated zucchini. The world is your oyster, go wild.
You can serve it with basmati rice or naan bread or roti (both aren't super tricky to make, just google it). I like mine with a dollop of natural yoghurt, some coriander and finely chopped chillies sprinkled over the top.
Enjoy! If you make it, please share on socials.. I'd love to see you getting your lentil on.
Take care everyone,