This is a vegan version of the classic Indian lentil dish, which is traditionally made with ghee (clarified butter). For this recipe, I have substituted sesame oil, which marries well with the lentils (but you could use just about any type of vegetable oil). This is great as a starter, served with toasted pitta breads, or as a spicy, high-protein snack/light meal.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
310 g(11oz/1 ¼ cups) red lentils (dry)
1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons of sesame oil (or other vegetable oil)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon garam masala spice
For the pitta toasts:
4 pitta bread rounds
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1) Put the lentils in a large bowl and cover with water. Remove any yucky scummy particles from the top, and drain the lentils well.
2) Finely chop the onion. Heat the oil in a saucepan, and then fry the onion in it for about 3 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic, ginger and spices and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
3) Add the lentils to this mixture and 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Watch it carefully towards the end of the cooking time, as it can stick and burn on the bottom of the pan (voice of experience here! ).
4) Transfer the dhal to a serving bowl and serve warm or at room temperature with pitta toasts or naan and pitta bread.
5) To make the pitta toasts, preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF/Gas Mark 4). Cut the pitta bread into wedges, and brush lightly with the olive oil. Arrange on a baking tray and cook for 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp (Care needed! as in no. 3 above).
Enjoy as a starter or a light meal. Dee-lish as either!