Tag Archives: dal


Dal with Chiquino peppers

Dal with Chiquino peppers(2)

At last and a long time coming….I am now the proud owner of my first French, tin lined copper saute pan! Inaugural dish being something to do with potatoes!! So to put it to the test, I went ahead with a very French dish Pommes Anna and was amazed how quickly they cooked and the base was perfectly brown and hardly anything stuck to the pan!!  (Sorry, didn’t take pictures so will do a repeat soon!) Why did it take me so long to go down the copper pan route….the cost perhaps…..but I bought this one as a “second” in TK Maxx for £40 with very little wrong except for a tiny, tiny dent on the edge of the lid.  And here we are and I am the first to admit that it is a hard act to beat. Not only is it the most gorgeous, beautiful, glowing, aesthetic pan ( could go on but would be bordering on the ridiculous!), it cooks beautifully at very low temperatures and visually beats every other sort of pan I have used. I for one will never be looking back and am now a life-time member of the tin lined copper pan brigade!

As for dal….we have dal at least 2-3 times a week for its nutritious quality and also because there are so many varieties to choose from, each with its own unique taste and texture.  I always have at least 5-6 types of dals in my cupboard – they are all cheap and store very well and that way you are never at a loss and can produce a lovely dish in no time, specially the skinless variety, as this cooks very speedily.  And as I now have my very special copper pan, I had to try cooking dal in it – not perhaps quite the right sort of pan, but hey, gotta have a go.  It was unbelievable how quickly it cooked and on a very low temperature too and for some odd reason never once threatened to boil over; curious because dal usually does exactly that!

Most of us tend to use the ubiquitous orange lentil more than any other….it’s delicious, takes about 25 minutes to cook and will happily accommodate most vegetables.  Try adding spinach, carrots, sauteed leeks, fried shallots, green beans etc…the list is endless.  Adding vegetables is an excellent idea because this produces a meal-in-one-pot and all you need do is boil some rice to go with it – dinner is ready to go! And if you decide not to add a whole lot of veggies to your dal, simply rustle up this simple potato and onion dish ……. 

Potatoes with onion(2)

or a cauliflower bhaji to go with it ….

Cauliflower & sprouting broccoli

The other day I bought these pretty little sweet peppers called Chiquino from Tescos mostly because I couldn’t resist the gorgeous, vibrant colours and smooth glowing skin.  Added a few to the dal and saved some which I intend to stuff to go with a salad later and here they are…..don’t you agree they are gorgeous?

Chiquino peppers


1 cup orange lentils, rinsed
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 +1 tablespoons oil
1 large tomato, chopped
I teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1½ inch piece ginger, finely chopped
Few sweet Chiquino peppers (you could use the large bell variety & cut into long slices)
Salt to taste


  • Fry the onion and cumin seeds in 2 tablespoons oil until the onion is golden brown
  • Add tomato, curry powder, turmeric, garlic and ginger and a little salt
  • Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring intermittently to avoid sticking
  • Add the washed lentils to the softened tomato and spices with 400ml of water
  • Cover and cook on low for about 25 minutes until lentils are cooked and the dal is thickish – if you prefer a thinner consistency, add a little more water and simmer for a further 5 minutes
  • With a sharp knife make a gash in the peppers and fry for about 3 minutes until nice and golden
  • Add to the dal and serve with plain rice



Mung dal with turnip & dill

Mung with turnip

Hello friends!

Today I decided to prepare this unusual combination of lentil and vegetable which most people may not be familiar with.  I remember my mother-in-law used to make it and over the years I have tried to mimic her but I don’t think it is ever as good!  As this was something only she prepared and my mother didn’t, we really looked forward to it.  Sometimes she would make it and send it over to us.  She was very aware of the Ayurvedic properties of food and mung bean is cooling so of course this was a summer dish.

There are many different sorts of lentils and taste surprisingly different with the skin on – so the orange lentil without the skin is nothing like the same lentil with the skin on.  Mung bean with the skin in this recipe tastes completely different and bears no similarity with the skinless yellow mung bean – see my recipe for yellow mung dal.

Lentils are loaded with vitamins, minerals and are a good source of protein and all this with no carbohydrates.  Lentils are usually cooked with very simple spices; my usual spices are turmeric, garlic, ginger and chillies (optional).  What makes dal different to say lentil soup, is the all important tarka (garnish).  Tarka is the crowning glory of all lentil dishes and is a must!

The mixture of spices used for tarka are traditionally set in stone in every household.  So if you wish to use fried onions on a particular dal which is traditionally garnished with garlic and cumin, then you’re in trouble.  But we are here to break the rules and experiment and not always do as our mothers did….. and if you make a judgement based on your culinary intuition, you will rarely go wrong.  And if you do, well that’s a lesson learnt!  So do give this a go and if you absolutely detest turnips, no worries, bung in a carrot or even marrow or pumpkin (if using marrow or pumpkin add towards the end as mushy marrow or pumpkin are not very palatable).   As a matter of fact there is a dal we make using orange lentil and add largish pieces of marrow in the last 20 minutes – I will post this recipe too in due course.

I hope you enjoy this recipe – dal and beans provide us with an excellent range of nutrients and are very versatile once you know how to use them.  Please let me know how you get on in the comments box.


1 cup split mung beans with skin
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch piece ginger, grated
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon chilli powder (or less)
2 turnips, cut into small pieces
½ cup fresh dill (frozen is fine too)

2-3 dried whole red chillies
1 teaspoon whole cumin
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons oil


  1. Soak mung beans for about an hour
  2. Rinse the dal and add garlic, ginger, turmeric, chilli powder and salt
  3. Add 4 cups of water and cook for 40-45 minutes until cooked and dal is soft
  4. Add turnips and dill and cook for a further 20-25 minutes until turnips are tender


  1. Heat the oil and add whole chillies
  2. Give the chillies 30 seconds and add cumin seeds
  3. Another 30 seconds and add onions and garlic; fry till golden brown
  4. Pour piping hot garnish on the mung beans and serve with rice