Tuesday, 15 March 2011


This is a warmingly spiced dal from the Kerala region in the south of India.  I came across it in Tamasin Day-Lewis's 'Kitchen Classics', and have a large pot of it bubbling on the stove, filling the flat with an incredible fragrance, and hopefully helping to cure my head cold!  It is simplicity itself.  Toast, in a dry frying pan, 4 teaspoons each of cumin and coriander seeds, until they darken slightly and become fragrant.  Grind in a mill or pestle and mortar and mix with two teaspoons of turmeric.  Finely chop 2 mildish green chillis and finely slice an onion.  Peel and chop 2 cloves of garlic and a 'thumb' of fresh ginger.  If you have a dried curry leaf or two, add that too  Now, bung it all in a pot with 225g or about 8oz of split red lentls, rinsed.  Pour water over to cover the lentils by an inch, and bring slowly to the boil.  Don't add salt yet.  When boiling, stir in a small (200ml) tin of creamed coconut, and a stick of cinnamon.  Turn down and simmer for 30 minutes until the water and coconut is absorbed.  Beat well with a wooden spoon until it is a soft creamy mash.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  You can add a 'tarka' to this by heating a couple of tablespoons of light oil, popping a teaspoon of black mustard seeds, some garlic and chilli in the hot oil and spooning over the Parippu before serving.  This quantity made loads, so I will thin the rest with stock for a simple soup for lunch tomorrow.  Tasting notes: this makes for a very creamy and comforting version of dal, definitely one to make again.  I suspect this would go down well with kids, as it is spicy and interesting without being at all hot.  Gorgeous scooped up with soft warm nan bread.

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