Dal, I find, is quite divisive. People either get it or they don't. A bit like IKEA.
I love love love dal. Even before vegetarianism, I'd wheel this one out regularly. Luckily I've got number one son on board so I can make it more than twice a year even though the rest of the family aren't mad about it.
(Truly, what's not to love about red lentils I ask you?!)
The provenance of my dal recipe is hazy. I think I first learnt to cook dal thanks to my darling friend Leah now two thousand kilometres north of Sydney who I once worked with and started a lunch club with, in which one person brought lunch in for three and then the next two days you had lunch cooked for you. It was totally fab. We'd do awesome salads and bring in cold quiche and swapped recipes like girls possessed. And Leah cooked a fabulously simple dal. I now cook this off the top of my head but I think this is where it came from.
But another reason I love it is because it costs about 10 cents to make. Well maybe not 10 cents but damn it's cheap. Well under $5 for an entire family dinner. And it's super nutritious.
Gotta love that.
We usually have brown rice – in fact we rarely have white rice in the house. But I bought a big bag of jasmine to attempt to make my own rice crackers. Better get onto that before we eat it all!
RECIPE FOR SIMPLE DAL
1½ cups red lentils (approx 300g)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cm piece of fresh ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
Cook the onion, garlic and ginger until soft in a splodge of oil (olive or vegie or macadamia nut – whatever you have handy.)
Add the tumeric and fry for another minute.
Add the lentils and stir until coated. Then cover all with water and simmer until cooked, usually about 20-30 minutes. I keep checking and stirring and adding water if it's too dry. Season with salt.
You can add chillis which spices the whole dish up (add with the tumeric) but I've been cooking this for kids for the last few years so I leave them out.
I love this for one more reason: you can cook it one-handed! Chuck it all in. Stir. Serve. All with a baby with a headcold on your hip! Try it!