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Monday, 22 August 2011

Meat-Free Monday inspirations: Dahl curry

Last night I served dinner to a hungry family at our weekly family get-together. Usually mom cooks, but I volunteered to cook yesterday, and give everyone a taste of veganism. Naturally, I wanted to put my best foot forward, to try to dispel the myth that vegan food is bland. Well! I made a number of dishes, which I will publish in separate posts for your meat-free inspiration (ok, I did have all day to prepare the food, and some help from my very obliging sister and mom). I will include roughly how long each dish took me to prepare.

Dhal curry recipe:

I found this recipe on a useful site, but I have twice adapted it to fit the contents of my fridge, with great results!


  • 1 cup Yellow split peas / dahl
  • 2 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin, whole seeds or ground
  • 2 whole cloves
  • dash of pepper, to taste

[I've been known to add: garlic, curry leaves, parsley, coriander, curry powder, masala, spinach and carrots]

I usually soak the dahl for a few hours. Be sure to wash it thoroughly and check for stones (ouch :-/ )
Place the dahl and water / veg stock in a large pot and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, add the turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt, then leave it to simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. If you want to add other veg to the mix, then throw them in at this point as well (depending on how hard the vegetable is: when I used the spinach, I waited fifteen minutes after the dahl mix came to the boil before adding it; when I added carrots I threw them in with the dahl).

Fry together the onions, garlic, cumin, cloves and herbs (parsley / coriander / curry leaves - go crazy!), until the onion is soft. Add this mix to the dahl, along with some curry powder / masala and let the whole concoction simmer for 5 more minutes. Season to taste, and serve it with basmati rice, or in a wrap / pita bread (delicious!), or even on its own.

Pre-preparations included (eg chopping all veg etc), this dish takes about half an hour to prepare (excluding the soaking time for the peas, which I'm not entirely convinced is necessary, but I'll keep you posted on that).


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