In project collaboration with Food Around The World Project
Homemade Chana Dhal & Chinese Spinach
Author: Chef César Pérez M.
Recipe type: Side Dish
We love Indian food. At home, it is very unusual if we don’t have Indian food at least once a week. The aromas, the textures, the spicy flavours of this wonderful culture, delight our guests, as well. But, let's talk about the Dhal. Dahl, which is also often spelled daal, and dal, is essentially a thick South-Asian-inspired lentil stew, which is often prepared with ghee or clarified butter. This recipe uses a little sesame oil for depth and flavour instead of ghee, and to make it vegan as well. There are actually a wide range of dahls made from many different types of lentils and other vegetables called "pulses." Dried and split, they are cooked with various different spices, meats, and vegetables. Options include red and yellow lentils, mung beans, lobiya (black-eyed peas), and chickpeas among others. It's easy to modify a dahl to make it mild or spicy, or to create a full dah-based meal, or a side dish. This simple dahl is one of my favourite go-to recipes as it is easy to prepare with pantry staples, and quick to make in one pot. It can also be doubled or tripled when you have a lot of mouths to feed for a large family gathering or a party. It is also a great to-go leftovers lunch that can be served with naan and tea.
- • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- • 1 red onion, finely chopped
- • 1 garlic clove, crushed
- • Thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- • 1 red tomato, peeled and cut into cubes
- • 1½ tsps. ground turmeric
- • 1½ tsps. ground cumin
- • 1 ½ tsps. Garam Masala
- • 2 sweet potatoes (about 400g/14oz), cut into even chunks
- • 250g Chana Dhal
- • 600ml vegetable stock
- • 80g of Chinese spinach
- • 4 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal, to serve
- • 1 tbsp. ginger, sliced finely, to serve
- • 1tbsp. green chilli, finely chopped, to serve
- • ½ small pack of Thai basil, leaves torn, to serve
- • Cooked rice, as side dish
- • Sour cream
- Heat the oil in a wide-based pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the onion and cook over a low heat for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic, ginger, tomato and chilli, cook for 1 min, then add the spices and cook for 1 more min.
- Turn up the heat to medium, add the sweet potato and stir everything together, so the potato is coated in the spice mixture. Tip in the dhal, stock and some seasoning. Bring the liquid to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook for 30 mins or until the split chickpeas are tender and the potato is just holding its shape.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning, then gently stir in the spinach. Once wilted, top it with the spring onions, chilli, ginger and basil to serve.
- Serve with rice and sour cream as you like.
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