Meatfree Monday is my salvation after inevitably eating too much, and particularly too much meat, over the weekend. I love feeding my carnivorous family but I feel so much better when I'm cooking and eating simple, homemade vegetarian food: I could live on it.
This dal was a bit of an improvisation... I mixed two different types of dal because both packets were nearly empty, and threw in lots of leftover veggies from the fridge. But it turned out to be totally delicious, so has earned itself a recipe.
For a huge pot of this comforting concoction, you will need the following ingredients. It sounds like a lot but the recipe is easy as you basically just throw everything in.
Once it's all cooked, you can also freeze portions for later on to eat as is, or to add to curries and sauces as a thickener (I put a portion in all my chicken curries so the kids eat it without knowing they're eating veggies): it's very time saving.
1 cup of toor dal
1/2 cup of moong dal
1 zucchini, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 an onion, roughly chopped
1 green chilli, sliced vertically in half
1 cup of pumpkin, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 large handful of greens: spinach or silverbeet
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
1 heaped teaspoon of tamarind paste, or juice of at least half a lemon
Rinse the lentils together (really well) and soak in a large pot covered by a couple of inches of water for at least 30 minutes. After this, bring to boil, and skim of the foam from the top as it does so. Once this foamy layer has been removed, throw in all the veggies, salt, cumin, turmeric and chilli. Cook for 40 mins to an hour on a slow heat until everything is lovely and mushy, stirring occasionally and adding water as you go if it looks too thick - the amount of water you use is totally personal, depending on whether you like a thin or thicker dal.
When everything is cooked, add the tamarind or lemon and adjust the salt to taste - it needs to be really tangy, dal on its own is very bland and totally sucks up flavour. You can then mash the dal roughly with a potato masher, or blend it to a more homogenous consistency, and add fresh dill or coriander to serve.