oh! dahling – green lentil curry

This recipe is an adaptation on a simple dahl recipe in The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon.The coconut milk adds a subtle, but tasty, coconut flavour. This adaptation turns into more of a green lentil curry rather than a dahl – but I like the Oh! Darling play on words too much. It was a team effort by Cass and I. We only enough green lentils for what we wanted to do without having to go to the shops. Using green lentils in the dahl recipe takes a little longer – so rather than cooking with the onions etc. boil separately as the recipe states. Using green lentils also means that if you don’t have a saucy liquid to add it will end up like a green lentil salad as they need something saucy to bring them together. Cass thought to add a tin tomatoes but we had none so I suggested coconut milk and this adaption was born. I still want to post another less adapted version of this in the next few weeks. We have a lot of frozen curries (red pork curry and lamb rogan josh) so we have been making a dahl once a week to go with one of the meat curries and using the leftover with rice for work lunches. This is the tip – hence the tips and tricks category.

makes enough as a side with another curry for 2 and 4 lunches with rice

500g green lentils (check packaging if keeping gluten free)

1.5 tbs ghee (how to in method) or rice/veggie oil (the recipe will be vegan if you use oil)

1 large brown onion. Finely sliced.

2 garlic cloves (3 if on the small side). Finely diced or microplaned.

1 tbs ginger. Finely diced or microplaned.

Salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tsp turmeric

1.5 tbs garam masala (make your own – see https://crichtonscoop.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/hakuna-matata-garam-masala/) (use ¾ and reserve ¼ to sprinkle on at the end.

1-1.5 tsp of chilli flakes (depends on how much you like your chilli)

1 can (400 ml) coconut milk

organise your lentils:

Measure out, wash and drain and then place in a bowl and fill with water. Remove any that float to the top. Drain.

Boil about 6 cups of water in your kettle.

Place lentils in a medium saucepan. Pour over the boiling water from the kettle, if lentils are not covered, add cold water from the tap until they are. Boil until soft. About 30 minutes.

making the ghee:

In a small pot, melt the butter on low. This will create the ghee. When the butter is melted it will split. The ghee is the top layer. As you pour off (next step) only add the top yellow liquid that is clear – the ghee.

Heat the ghee or oil in a medium sauce pan. Slice the onions, dice or microplane the garlic ginger. When ghee/oil is up to temperature add the onions and salt (be reserved with the salt, you can always add more, but adding at this stage helps the onions to break down), followed by the garlic and ginger. Fry over medium heat until onions are golden brown.

putting it all together:

Add the turmeric, chilli flakes and ¾ of the garam masala. Fry until aromatic. Add the coconut milk. Keep the can. Keep on a low simmer, stirring every now and then for a few minutes. Turn off until the lentils are ready.

When the lentils are soft, take of the heat and drain. Wash with cold water and add to the coconut milk curry sauce. This is so you don’t get any of the dirty boiled water as it will add a funny taste to the curry. Fill the coconut can 1/3 of the way with water and give a swirl to get most of the remaining coconut milk. Add this once the lentils have been added.

Cook on med-high for a few minutes until you are happy with the consistency. Add more water if necessary – I haven’t had too following the recipe. Taste for salt. Add pepper to taste and the remainder of the garam masala.

Serve on it’s own or with red pork curry, lamb rogan josh and/or cauliflower curry. Pictured with red pork curry, natural yoghurt and a home-made mango chutney.

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