Monday, March 24, 2014

Lentils Dhal: Delicious India

I love Indian food for its flavors and spices. 
It is a cuisine of great diversity and richness. While in Northern India greatly influenced by Mughal culture, flatbreads accompany meals, The Southern kitchen is characterized by a high consumption of rice and it is also known especially for being spicier.

The contribution of Indian cuisine in the world is huge. Due to great migrations, it has influenced the five continents. There are adaptations in Africa (South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya ...), in the Indian Ocean, and also in Europe (especially England) and North America.

Indian kitchen sounds complicated but you can easily cook it at home. Everyone can create its own curry respecting the most important ingredients which are mashed garlic  mashed ginger, turmeric , cardamom and curry powder .
Then everything is a matter of taste for adding other spices, cinnamon, cloves, pepper etc.

Lentil Dhal is a curry that I particularly appreciate.
In India, the word Dhal is used to name all legumes (lentils, chickpeas etc). And there are lots of sorts of legumes because Indians are huge consumers.
I've chosen to make a lentil dhal but you can make the following recipe with lentils of your choice or chickpeas.

For further information about vegetarian Indian food, I invite you to visit the blog of Panjak In this blog the vegetarian recipes are so delicious.

Ingredients (for 3/ 4 people):

  • 250 gr coral lentils
  • 150g carrots
  • 8 cl tomato pulp or 1 small tomato
  • 60 gr Paneer ( Indian cheese ) or firm tofu (optional)
  • 1/2 liter of vegetable broth
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger (4/5 cm)
  • a half tsp of garam masala (Indian curry)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 gr of ginger powder (optional)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to your taste

Preparation :

2-3 hours before you start, wash and soak the lentils.

Wash and cut the carrots into slices. Boil them in a small saucepan. They should be cooked but remain firm. Set them aside.

Cut and chop the onion into cubes.

Peel and de germed garlic, grate it to get a smooth puree

Peel the ginger and grate it too. You must have a fine puree.

Discard the lentils soaking water. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the lentils for about 20 minutes with half the broth and 1 bay leaf.

Check the lentils; they should easily be crushed by the fingers.

Take 3 tablespoons of lentils and mix them with the small tomato or the tomato pulp.
Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil.

Brown the onion, garlic and ginger puree. Stir well. Do not let them burn.

Add the carrots, lentils, the lentil puree and the spices. Mix well.

Pour a part of the remaining stock and add another leaf.

Cook for about 10 minutes. The mixture should be creamy and smooth.

Salt the Dhal and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

If you want to add paneer or firm tofu, cut into cubes and fry them until brown in a little oil.
Add at the end of the preparation.

I've served this dish with a naan bread buttermilk.
It can also be eaten with rice.


You can make your own paneer; for this, heat a liter of milk over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, a pinch of salt and stir. The milk is going to curdle.
Filter through a muslin to get the curd. Squeeze hard to extract all the water.
Put the muslin in a colander and place a weight on top. Place a container underneath to collect the liquid and store in the fridge.
To use your panee, cut the cheese into cubes.

Thank you for your reading. Feel free to let a comment.
I hope you will enjoy this journey in India.