Friday, March 25, 2011

Easy Dhal and Chapati

A great way to save money on food is to eat less meat. In my house, we only eat meat maybe 2-3 times per week, at the most. I like to buy the best meat I can (at least free-range, organic if possible) and am happy to sacrifice quality for quantity. After stocking up on dried goods due to the earthquake, I thought this week it was time to put the red lentils to use and give dhal a try. My old flatmate had made it once years ago, along with homemade chapati, and I still remember it as a delicious meal.

Dhal is extremely easy and ridiculously cheap. The most substantial ingredient in this whole recipe was the dried red lentils, and a 500 gram bag from the supermarket is around $2.50. Served over rice, I fed four people, plus lunch for Paddy and I, and I didn't even use the whole bag of lentils!

A very hungry Amy forgot to take photos of this yummy dinner, so please excuse my 'borrowed' photo.

Photo credit
Dhal recipe modified from here. Chapati recipe modified from here.

Easy Dhal

2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
6 cups water
2 tomatoes, chopped
3 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, finely diced
5-10 cloves garlic, minced (I used 10, it was perfectly garlicky for my taste buds)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp turmeric
Pinch of cayenne
1 Tbsp tomato paste
Juice of one lemon
Large handful of spinach leaves, stems removed
Chopped fresh coriander
Salt to taste

Place lentils, tomato and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender and have lost their shape, about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on the pot as you want to water to reduce and the lentils to become mushy but you don't want to burn the bottom!

In a separate pot, heat the oil until quite hot and fry the onion and garlic until browned. Add the spices and sizzle until aromatic. Add the spice and onion mix to the cooked lentils, then add the tomato paste and lemon and cook for a few minutes. Season to taste. Add the spinach and fold in until wilted and combined. Add the coriander just before serving and mix until combined.

Serve over rice, with chapati, yoghurt and chutney on the side.


3 cups wholemeal flour
1 Tbsp butter or oil
1 cup warm water
Salt to taste

Put flour, salt and butter or oil into a mixing bowl. Add the water and mix until combined. Place dough on floured surface and knead until smooth. Cover and leave to sit in a warm place for 30 minutes. Cut dough into ten pieces and shape into balls. Roll balls out on floured surface until they are about 0.5cm thick. Heat a dry pan to very hot and quickly fry chapati until brown, flip over and repeat on the other side. Keep in a warm oven until all are cooked.

1 comment:

  1. Looks great! We've been eating a bit of dahl lately. Hubby made this one which uses a few different kind of lentils we found at our bin inn, and asian supermarket. It was a really yummy dahl. But we didn't add the 100g butter at the end - woah! we added about 20g, and it was still delicious. BTW, I think you totally won the tomato growing competition! Will blog about it soon ;) Me and Ella better get working on a prize!