If I had to eat one meal for the rest of my life, I would choose dal in a heartbeat. It was a weekly staple when I was growing up, and I used to tear into fresh rounds of homemade chapatti just to mop my plate clean. This is a version I first made when I was homesick and in desperate need of a winter treat. Parsnip and fennel are perhaps unusual additions to a dal, but together they give it an almost herby, anise-like twang.
Put the lentils, turmeric, bay leaves and stock in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and leave to
In a bowl, mix the fennel and parsnip with the oil, cumin and
Meanwhile, in a medium non-stick frying pan, temper the spices: pour in the oil and set over medium heat. When it’s hot, fry the mustard, fenugreek, cumin seeds and asafoetida until they’re fragrant, the mustard seeds ‘pop’ and the pungent aroma of the asafoetida starts to subside. Add the onion, ginger and chillies, and continue to fry until the onion is soft and translucent. Pour in the diced tomatoes and chilli powder, and
When the lentils are creamy and ready, season with the remaining
Garnish with coriander leaves and flaked almonds, and serve with naan breads, rice or chapattis.
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