A warming and satisfying dish with lots of uses! It also freezes well so you can have it ready to go for those busy evenings. We serve with flatbreads which are great for children to help with, but this can easily be served with rice instead.
These recipes are designed for you to cook together as a family. The best bits for children to help with are shown in blue, and little hands can always help with measuring ingredients and washing up!
For the dhal
- 1 tablespoon oil (1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons approx.)
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped (dried ginger powder or purée works too)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 3 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
- 300g dried red lentils, rinsed, or about 1 ¼ mugs
- 400g tin coconut milk
- 750ml hot water, or about 3 mugs
- 1 ½ vegetable stock cubes (low salt preferably)
- 3 handfuls fresh spinach, washed or 2 blocks frozen
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice or ½ lemon squeezed
For the flatbreads
- 300g flour or about 1 ½ mugs
- 150ml warm water or about ½ mug
- 3 tablespoons oil
- Natural yoghurt
Serves 5. Approximate cost per adult serving: 72p
- Peel the onion and finely chop.
- Heat the oil in a large pan over low heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until soft.
- Peel the garlic and the ginger and finely chop (or mince the garlic and grate the ginger).
- Add the garlic and ginger to the pan. Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add extra oil if needed.
- Add all the dried spices: cumin, turmeric, and garam masala. Stir to coat the onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to let it burn.
- Make up the stock and add a little to the pan. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape bits from the bottom of the pan and mix well.
- Add the rest of the stock, rinsed lentils and coconut milk and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes with a lid (if you have one), then10 minutes with the lid off so it can thicken.
- Meanwhile, prepare the flatbreads (or boil rice):
a) Put the flour in a bowl and trickle over the oil and most of the water. Mix together until a rough dough forms.
b) Knead the dough until soft. If it is too dry, add a little water, if too sticky, add a little flour.
c) Transfer to a clean surface and knead for 5 minutes. (If you have time, loosely cover the dough with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to rest for 15 minutes).
d) Heat a little oil in a frying pan on a high heat.
e) Divide the dough into 8 balls and roll each one until about 3mm thick (a reusable water bottle or can does the trick if you don’t have a rolling pin).
f) When the pan is hot, cook the flatbreads for about 30 seconds on one side, flip and cook for 2 minutes on the other side, until they start to brown. Keep the cooked flatbreads warm with a tea towel until they are all done.
- Add the spinach and lemon juice to the dhal. Stir until the spinach wilts.
- Serve up the dhal, flatbreads and yoghurt, and enjoy!
- Large deep pan (lid preferable but not essential)
- Spatula / wooden spoon
- Frying pan
- Sharp knife
- Chopping board
- Rolling pin
- You can use frozen chopped garlic, ginger, onion and spinach in place of fresh to make it easier and quicker to prepare!
- Add chopped chilli, chilli flakes or chilli powder to give it a kick.
- Store your fresh ginger in a sandwich bag in the freezer. You can peel and grate off what you need each time straight from frozen.
- Leftovers can be stirred through pasta or add stock to make it into a soup.
Lentils are an excellent source of B vitamins, which we need to use the energy from our food, and iron, which is important for carrying oxygen around our bodies.
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