Black bean Dhal with ginger, chilli, onions and tomato

This rich and delicious Dhal is made with black beans stewed with ginger, dried chillies, tomatoes and then finished with fried onions and spices. A great accompaniment with other vegetable curries and eaten with rice or naan or rotis. I use canned black beans which you can find in the Mexican section of the supermarket. The key is long, slow cooking adding stock or water until the mixture takes on a thick, soup like consistency and the beans have broken down.

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1.5-2 hours
Ingredients
1 can black beans
1 large piece of ginger, peeled and cut in 2 pieces
3-4 dried red chillies
1 large tomato cut into large cubes
500ml Salt reduced chicken or vegetable stock
500ml water
Salt
1 tspoon cummin seeds
1/2 tspoon Turmeric
1/2 tspoon Chilli powder
1/2 tspoon cummin powder
Handful curry leaves
1 small onion sliced
1 tspoon ginger and garlic paste
50g butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Chopped coriander for garnish

Method
Bring water to boil in a medium-large saucepan
Strain beans in colander and rinse thoroughly
Add beans, ginger and dried chillies to water and add a cup of stock
Beans should be well covered with water and stock
Cook own a low rolling boil for 1 hour, adding water,or stock as required as you would for a soup
After an hour use a masher to break up beans and add 1/2 cup of water and add the tomato
Continue to cook for another half an hour to 45 minutes
Once the mixture has reduced and reached a thick soup-like consistency turn off heat.
In a seperate large frying pan, heat oil and butter over medium heat
Add cummin seeds and curry leaves and fry until fragrant
Add onion and cook slowly until golden and transparent
Remove large pieces of ginger from the bean mixture and then add to onion mixture, add salt to taste, bring to a boil to heat through
Garnish with chopped coriander and serve

Thick black bean dhal with rice
Thick black bean dhal with rice

Serves 3-4 as an accompaniment

Red Lentil Tarka Dhal with turmeric and ginger

Most Indian meals should be accompanied by a Dhal – an almost souplike side dish which can be made from a number of different types of lentils. Dhal is an absolute must to accompany South Indian vegetarian meals adding essential proteins. My version is quick and easy, using red lentils and the flavours featured are inspired by the dhals of Kerala and other parts of South India. Tarka dhal refers to the process of adding a Tarka(seasoned oil dressing with onions, tomatoes and spices) to the boiled lentils which adds flavour and depth to the sauce. Unlike most recipes I prefer to “cook” the boiled lentils in the Tarka at the end to allow the flavours to permeate the whole dish. For a richer and creamier consistency that is truly South Indian, coconut cream can be added at the end or else to make it sinfully delicious a knob of butter. Dhal keeps well in the fridge and can be successfully frozen and reheated. Leftovers are also great on toast.

Red lentils, ginger, garlic,, onion tomatoes form the basis of the ingredients for Tarka dhal.
Red lentils, ginger, garlic,, onion tomatoes form the basis of the ingredients for Tarka dhal.

Prep time:5 minutes Cooking time:25 minutes
Ingredients:
For Boiled lentils
3/4 cup red lentils
3 cups water
4-5cm knob of ginger peeled and cut in half
1 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon salt
For Tarka
1/2 onion sliced finely
1/2 tomato chopped into small pieces
1 tspn fresh ginger and garlic ground into paste (2 small cloves garlic and equivalent amount ginger)
2-3 dried red chillies
1 tspn black mustard seeds
1 tspn cummin seeds
Handful curry leaves
1 stick cinnamon bark
2 tspns vegetable oil
Coriander chopped to garnish
Optional: knob of butter or 1/4 cup coconut cream

Method
Bring water to boil in small but deep pot or saucepan
Add knob of ginger, turmeric and salt
Add lentils stirring initially so the don’t stick to bottom
Reduce heat and cook on a low rolling boil for about 20 minutes or until lentils become soft and create a souplike consistency.
Add water in half cup measures as you go to allow for this consistency to be achieved without the mixture sticking or burning.

Red lentils on a rolling boil in pot for Tarka dhal
Red lentils on a rolling boil in pot for Tarka dhal

In a seperate deep non-stick frying pan or pot, heat the oil over medium heat, then add cinnamon stick, dried chillies, cummin seeds and curry leaves to flavour the oil ensuring spices don’t burn.
Add onions and cook over low heat until translucent for about 5 minutes, then add black mustard seeds.
Fry mustard seeds with onions and other spices for 1 minute and then add tomatoes, ground ginger and garlic.
Cook for another 5-8 minutes stirring regularly until tomatoes have broken down and slightly caramelised. Turn off heat.
Flavouring the oil with cummin seeds, cinnamon bark, dried chillies and curry leaves for Tarka Dhal
Flavouring the oil with cummin seeds, cinnamon bark, dried chillies and curry leaves for Tarka Dhal

When lentils have boiled, reheat Tarka on medium heat in the frying pan, and then carefully pour boiled lentils into the seasoned oil, spices and onions and bring to a simmer to allow flavours to permeate the dhal.
Add extra butter or coconut cream at this point if you are using.
Garnish with coriander and serve.

Serves 4-6 as an accompaniment