Recipe: The Perfect Plant Based Dhal

This is the perfect combination of fresh spices and perfect also for these brighter Spring evenings (or actually any evening!) The days are get lighter and brighter, evenings are filling with energy and the anticipation of summer and the promise of fresh air, warmth and flowers means that my taste buds are changing! There’s still a slight chill in the air for me – and I find that this recipe warms me through – so why not try it for yourself and warm up with this recipe for an absolutely delicious plant based daal/dhal/dahl. (Let’s use dhal for this recipe….) 

At my retreats I work with a range of talented chefs, bootcamp leaders, yogis and therapists and I simply love to share and explore how we all do things best. My lovely friend Bruna Oliveira, who came to my retreats to chef with us last summer, shared this super gorgeous recipe with us one evening and it was the perfect accompaniment to my Fermented Buckwheat Bread (which is still my most clicked on recipe to date!)

Bruna runs a company called The London Nut Cheese Company and her cheeses are insanely gorgeous! Go check her out, her work is truly fabaroo!

Here’s the recipe for Bruna’s Dhal – a delicious culmination of many years in the making with culinary tips passed on through family links. Oh yum. 

Tip: you firstly need to make the masala – but if you find that this is too much just use a pre-made one.

Ingredients (Masala)

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 6 pods cardamon
  • 3 cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 3 clove sticks

Method (Masala)

  • Add the spices to a dry frying pan and warm them until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them
  • Take them out of the heat and let cool down before grinding into a powder in a pestle & mortar if you have one, or use a grinding machine
  • Store in a glass jar until ready to use

Ingredients (Dhal)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 2 cm ginger root, grated
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cups sprouted (activated) lentils (or split red lentils)
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp homemade masala (above)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (optional – can fry in water if you prefer oil free)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 3 large sweet tomatoes
  • fresh coriander & quality sea salt to serve (optional)

Method (Dhal)

  • Prepare all ingredients and set aside
  • Have your blender ready 
  • Using a lidded wok or large pan, heat the oil (optional – use water if you prefer cooking oil free) and add the onions, garlic and then the ginger
  • Add half of the masala and all of the carrots, let it cook for about 5 min, mixing frequently to avoid burning
  • Add the lentils and enough water to cover all the ingredients
  • Close the pan with a lid and let it cook on a medium heat until tender (carrots & lentils will be soft)
  • Once cooked, add a small pinch of salt (optional), turmeric and the rest of the masala. Add more if you feel it needs more flavour – make the flavours work for you
  • Once cooked, add about 1 cup of the dhal to a blender with the tomatoes and blend till smooth
  • Return the contents of the blender to the main dhal pot and mix well, reheat if necessary
  • Add the lime juice and chopped coriander leaves to serve

Don’t forget that you can also use store bought dhal if this is a little overwhelming.

You just HAVE to try this! And if you are feeling like exploring more in the kitchen try making my gut-loving healing fermented bread – I promise that it’s so much easier than it looks and you will be sure not to be disappointed. The secret with this dhal (and with any recipe) is to make the spices work for you and make it to your taste – so work with it until you find your magic combination. 

All the love

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