This comforting easy dhal curry is the perfect balance of spices, sweetness from the pomegranate and the earthiness of red lentils.
Dhal is one of the easiest curries that you can make. No fancy pastes required and only 30 minutes. It's the perfect cozy dinner for the beginning of December.
But there are one or two things that you should know. Firstly, if you're not familiar, a dhal is an Indian style curry made from lentils. Lentils are essentially the powerhouse of the vegetarian diet. They're full of protein, fiber, and are virtually fat-free. I'm pretty sure that means you can eat extra Christmas cookies on days when you have a dhal curry!
Spinach Tomato Dhal Curry
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But here's what should you know about dhal.
Three most important things to know about dhal curry
- The most important part of a dhal is the tarka. It's a spicy and fragrant infused oil that goes on top of the dhal and is also served on the side so you can spoon on more as you eat.
- There are a couple of key elements in dhal curry. Red lentils, onion, garlic, and turmeric.
- A dhal curry is usually vegetarian. If you skip the egg for this recipe it's a completely vegan dinner.
So often, around this time of year, we ditch our health and nutrition and load up on all the festive treats on offer. But this year, I'm making more of an effort to not indulge 24/7. This vegetarian dinner goes a long way to making that happen.
Oh... and let's talk about how necessary that poached egg is. It's completely necessary. When you dig into that egg the yolk spills out into the dhal and adds the most unbelievable richness.
Is dhal curry healthy?
Yes. Dhal is a really healthy way to get your protein, iron, and fiber without loading up on fat and calories.
Is dhal a soup or a stew?
Well, it's both. I tend to think of it as a stew if it's served over rice and simply a soup when it's served on its own with a simple poached egg on top. And seriously, please don't skip the pomegranate!
So just to recap...
- Add a poached egg
- Don't skip the pomegranate
- Get some spicy tarka on the go
- Add a serious amount of chopped herbs
We're nothing if not topping people, right?!
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Tools used to make this Recipe Name
Spinach & Tomato Dhal Curry
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 inch fresh ginger thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 ½ cups water
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 400 ml tin chopped tomatoes including juice
- 1 ½ cups packed spinach
- kosher salt
- handful fresh cilantro and parsley chopped
For the Tarka
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 star anise
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- Miracle 2 Ingredient Naan Bread
- Pomegranate arils
- Poached egg
- Rice optional
- Heat the olive oil in the saucepan over a medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and onion and slowly soften until translucent and fragrant. Add the curry powder, turmeric and chilli flakes. Cook until all the spices are fragrant.
- Add the lentils and the water. Cook until the lentils are tender and cooked. Add the chopped tomatoes and spinach and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.
To make the tarka
- Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan. Add all the seeds and star anise to the oil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
- Serve with the naan bread and poached eggs.
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