Sooo… I jinxed myself yesterday by saying that exhaustion is OK because I woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating tummy pains and have been absent from patisserie school today with the flu. Woops. Therefore I shall re-phrase, that whilst exhaustion is OK sometimes, running yourself into the ground isn’t, and I shall continue to try and teach myself when enough is enough and how to rest. On the flip side, I had time to cook in my own kitchen today, which is not as common of an occurrence as it used to be. As a result, I’ve come up with a flu remedy dhal that has definitely picked me up a little bit and hope it does for you too! Disclaimer: you don’t have to be sick to make this recipe.
- Garam Masala
- Curry Powder
- Turmeric (great natural anti-inflammatory)
- Dried Chilli
- Cardamon pods
- Vegetable stock
- Ghee or butter
- Red or yellow split lentil peas (I used 2 cups for 2 people and we couldn’t finish it despite being greedy)
- Tomato puree
- Lemon Juice
- White Wine Vinegar
- Caster Sugar
- Sesame Seeds
- Dried Chilli
- Sunflower Oil
- Ottolenghi Harrisa Spice Snack
Now, despite being a pastry chef, who are supposedly very accurate in their measurements, I never use measurements when I’m at home therefore I invite you to do the same and just use your judgement to assess how much of each ingredient you need/ like to use. It’s much more fun and less restrictive this way. Feel free to omit/ add any of your own ingredients and I’d love to hear about your adaptions.
First, fry the onion, garlic and spices in butter in a heavy bottom frying pan. Do so until the onions became soft, aromatic and started to caramelise. Then add the tomato puree, crumble in a cube of vegetable stock and stir, then added the lentils. The lentils then need drowning in water as they require an abnormal amount in order to cook. I started off by using 3 cups of water to every 1 cup of lentils, but ended up adding more in the end to give the desired consistency. Bring the lentils up to a boil until they start to foam, and then reduce to a reasonably ferocious simmer.
Whilst the lentils are cooking, chop the cucumber lengthways and core our the watery middle. Dice into small pieces. Dice the chicory into small pieces also, without fearing to use the whole thing, down to the root. Mix the two with white wine vinegar, a sprinkle of sugar, white sesame seeds and dried chilli. This garnish adds a beautiful crunch to the smooth dhal and also acts as a refreshing palette cleanser as a contrast to the main dish.
Chop an onion into rings, and fry them in a pool of hot sunflower oil. Naughty but nice. Once crispy and golden, leave them to dry out on a plate with kitchen roll. Once most of the oil has soaked through the paper, crush up some harissa snack mix into a crumbland mix this with the crispy onions. An absolutely divine intervention to a dhal if I say so myself. This harissa snack is so versatile, I am such a fan. The obvious option is to eat it straight out the bag, but its also such a great addition to curries, soups, salads and an all round great store cupboard item.
After the lentils has been cooking for about 20 minutes, and nearly fully softened, remove the cardamon pods and using a hand blender, squish about half of the lentils. This gives the dhal a lovely texture and helps to emulsify the contents into a thick, creamy curry. However, you can never get creamy enough, so add a good drizzle of cream and a dash of lemon juice to finish.
Plate the dhal and top with the crispy garnish, with the salad garnish on the side, and there you have it.
Although many Ottolenghi products can be found here, as well as recipe books, popular Ottolenghi spices, gift hampers etc, the harissa snack is unfortunately not sold online, but can be found at all Ottolenghi delis in London.
It would be really helpful for me to know whether you enjoyed this style of recipe writing or whether you would rather I start measuring ingredients to be able to share. My thoughts were that If I cant be bothered to measure anything when I’m cooking at home, that you’d probably rather not either.
Hoping to feel better tomorrow, all will be revealed.