Tomato and carrot dhal

I’m cooking all the wrong foods for this heatwave we are experiencing in Cape Town at the moment. I should be making salads and cold, refreshing things that don’t need cooking. Instead I had a craving for warm, mushy, comforting dhal, and sweated away over a stove to indulge it. This is one of the best dhals I’ve ever had though, so it was well worth it. There’s nothing like dhal for a healthy Indian food fix. It’s so easy too – anyone could make this.

I adapted this recipe from a fab new veggie cookbook my mum gave me for Christmas – 500 Greatest-ever vegetarian recipes.

tomato and carrot dhal

Serves 4

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 2 carrots, diced finely (this is easiest to do in a food processor)
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes or chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup red split lentils
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 7 tomatoes, chopped finely
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 5 tablespoons of fresh coriander

Heat a slug of vegetable or peanut oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, carrot, cumin, mustard seeds and ginger. Stir constantly for 5 minutes until the seeds begin to pop.

Stir in the tumeric, chilli and garam masala and cook for 1 minute, stirring.

Add the lentils, water, coconut milk and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking.

Stir in the lime juice and add the chopped coriander. Cook for 10-15 minutes more, until the lentils are tender.

I didn’t have any naan, but I felt like eating the dhal with something to scoop it up, so I grilled thick slices of eggplant, which were really tasty.