Red Lentil & Spinach Dhal

Dhal is such a hearty, warming and nourishing meal and is something I always crave during the winter. I thought I would share it with you all because even though we're nearly past winter, the temperature certainly doesn't suggest so! Lentils are a fantastic vegetarian source of protein, an excellent source of fibre, slow releasing carbohydrates and also provide iron, phosphorus and zinc. If you experience flatulence, bloating or stomach pains from legumes I highly recommend soaking them first, which also decreases the cooking time. Serve with some brown rice, steamed vegetables and a dollop of yoghurt for a fully balanced meal. 

Serves 3 as a main meal or 4 with rice and steamed vegetables.

Ingredients

1 cup red lentils
1 bay leaf
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 red chilli, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin (or for total flavour punch toast & grind 1 ½ teaspoon cumin seeds)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon ground coriander
6 curry leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cups spinach leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice     

To serve: fresh coriander, yoghurt, chilli flakes

Directions

Rinse the lentils and place in a saucepan with the bay leaf and 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes, skimming of any scum that rises to the top.

Meanwhile heat some coconut oil in a fry pan and add the onion until really starting to brown. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, curry leaves, salt and tomatoes and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the lentil mixture to the fry pan and scrape off all the flavour from the bottom of the pan, then transfer back to the original saucepan.

Cook for a further 10 minutes, adding more water if it becomes too thick. In the final minute, stir through the spinach and the lemon juice.

Serve with fresh coriander, a dollop of yoghurt and chilli flakes if you like it hot.