Spiced cauliflower and red lentil dal
This simple one-pot dal is a comforting dish to add to your repertoire. Served simply with some plain rice alongside, it’s a meal in its own right. Feel free to omit the butter and replace yoghurt with coconut yoghurt for an easy vegan alternative.
2 tbsp vegetable oil
50g unsalted butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 pinch of chilli flakes
1 medium cauliflower separated into small florets
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tbsp peeled and finely grated ginger
200g chopped tinned tomatoes
250g red lentils
1 ltr hot vegetable stock
4 tbsp fresh chopped coriander
Melt the butter with the oil in your wide shallow casserole pot. When the butter starts to foam, add the cumin, mustard and nigella seeds and the pinch of chilli. Cook for a couple of minutes until the mustard seeds start to pop and then add the cauliflower florets and turn the heat down. Sprinkle with some salt and stir around. Pop the lid on the pan and allow to cook, over a low heat, for about 10-12 minutes, occasionally turning the florets over, until tender and caramelised.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the 4 ground spices with 3 tablespoons of water. Leave to one side. This is your spice paste.
Once the cauliflower is ready, use a slotted spoon to transfer the florets to a bowl or plate, leaving a lot of the oil and seeds behind. Add the onion to the pan with another tablespoon of oil if the pan feels a little dry. Cook for 5 mins until the onion starts to brown at the edges.
Now add the garlic and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes, allowing them to cook out a little. Now add the spice paste, stirring around, allowing it to cook for a minute or so. Add the tomatoes and cook until they start to bubble. Add the lentils, vegetable stock and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to simmering point. Cook over a medium heat for 12-15 minutes until the liquid has largely been absorbed and the lentils are tender and starting to break up slightly. Give the pan regular stirs, more frequently towards the end of cooking to ensure the lentils don’t sink and stick to the bottom of the pan.
Once ready, stir through the cauliflower and sprinkle with fresh coriander. Serve with plain rice, yoghurt and your favourite chutneys.