Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bill's Dhal

I've been meaning to try this recipe for ages and last night I finally had all the ingredients at hand. I bought Bill Granger's "Simply Bill" a few years ago because of the lovely pictures but never cooked anything out of it.
I wonder now what makes a cookbook great. A cookbook that makes you want to cook every single recipe and not just look at the pictures. I guess for me a big turn off would be a ridiculously long list of ingredients, or ingredients that I first have to hunt down. Or a list of ingredients that I only ever need for that particular dish. One that comes to mind is "Tamarind pulp" or "Sichuan Peppercorn". I am sure these give the dish their unique flavour, but unless you have a repertoire of dishes that require that particular ingredient, I would end up with a pantry full open packages or a fridge full of half empty jars....

I am sure that one day, when I enter my 'gourmet' cooking phase, or the 'dinner party' age I will willingly experiment with a variety of culinary styles. For now, however, it has to be simple, tick all the nutritional boxes AND be very yummy.... So while I do enjoy just reading cookbooks, there are some trusty old books I will always come back to, and that is the sign of a truly great cookbook.

But nevertheless, last night I pulled Bill out of the pantry and made his Dhal.

My Dhal (Bill's)

2 tbs olive oil
1 red onion
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 large green chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cumin
250g red lentils
1 tbs lime juice

to serve with some coriander leaves
rice and/or flatbread

Heat a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. When hot add the onion, ginger, garlic, chilli, salt and cumin and cook for 10min, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. Add the lentils and 750ml of water and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-30min until the lentils have dissolved.

Remove from heat and stir through the lime juice. top with the coriander leaves and serve.
Serves 4 -5

I put only half of the chilli in as it turned out to be a very hot one and it was still a bit too spicy for the kids. We ended up serving it with a dollop of plain yoghurt on top which was very nice.
I also added some split chickpeas to the red lentils just for fun. Defenetly a recipe to play around with and customize to your preferences.

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