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Simple Meal Prep Dhal

I’m pregnant and prepping some meals before I pop.

It’s a funny thing because as I’m cooking, I’m mourning the time I won’t be spending in the kitchen, because I’ll have a freezer full of food to eat.

I love cooking, for many reasons but also because it’s reduced down to the simple fact that >>> I’m a human and to live means I eat.

Over the past 13 years I’ve aligned my priorities to follow what I value and how I want to feel. A high priority for me is my health and I want to feel freakin’ amazing – which I know is very possible when you get over yourself and cook food for yourself from simple ingredients.

So I’m prepping and freezing…. and prepping some more because we accidentally ate the food that was meant to be for after the baby and cooking some more.

and on it goes and I wanted to share this recipe with you, I found this traditional vegetarian dhal recipe in a very very old book at the back of my bookshelf: Curries From The Sultan’s Kitchen, recipes from India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon by Doris M. Ady. Published 1968.

Dhal is simply a lentil puree, usually made with red lentils or split peas (but you can make it with anything).

I’ve butchered the recipe a bit and included my favourite #1 ingredient for flavourful Indian cooking: CURRY LEAVES.

Curry leaves smell like curry. They make your food taste like curry, like it’s from a restaurant and they will make you smile.

They don’t replace spices or other ingredients – they’re an addition to the Flavour Town you are creating in the pot.

They’ll make your house fill with aromatics that will draw family members away from their screens to see what all the delicious fuss is about.

They’ll make your neighbours jealous.

Best of all: curry leaves are cheap and available in the fresh herb section at most supermarkets.

If you can’t find them, head to your local Asian/Indian grocer. They’ll most likely be a lot cheaper than the big supermarkets anyway.

Curry leaves are a fresh product. You can store them in the fridge, but I stick them in the freezer, so I have curry leaves ready to go when I am.

Dhal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red lentils or split peas

  • 3 cups water

  • 2 onions, chopped

  • 2 tbsp ghee

  • 1/2 cup leek, chopped

  • 5-10 mushrooms, I used shitake and button, chopped

  • Salt

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped

  • Curry leaves, around 6 – 10 leaves

  • 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds

  • Pinch of chilli powder

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp coriander

  • Optional: veggie stock powder

  • 1-3 cups extra water, just in case – you could also use broth

  • 1/4 cup coconut cream

  • Pepper

  • Lemon juice

Method

  1. OPTIONAL: Soak your lentils/split peas for 8-12 hours and rinse well. If you don’t have time to do this, don’t worry. Soaking is amazing for digestion, you’ll notice a benefit from doing it, but if it’s the difference between you making this meal and not. I’m all for skipping the soaking. Then you can adjust your course for next time, by focussing on how eating un-soaked lentils/split peas made you feel – for some, they feel horrible, others are fine.

  2. Add lentils/split peas to a pot with 1 onion and water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, cook around 30 minutes.

  3. Controversial step – at this point, most recipes would say to keep the lentils and their water. I like to drain the water, usually because I forget, I’m so used to cooking beans, chickpeas etc, that it’s automatic for me to drain the water. Either way it doesn’t matter.

  4. In another pot, heat ghee and add remaining onion, leek and mushrooms with a good pinch of salt. Cook for 8 minutes, until fragrant.

  5. Add garlic, curry leaves, mustard seeds, chilli, turmeric, cumin and coriander and cook for 2 minutes.

  6. Add lentils/split peas back to pot. Mix well to coat lentils/split peas in the spices.

  7. At this stage, I like to add some liquid, to create a brothy like dhal. This is up to you but I find the pot can get a bit dry as lentils/split peas are so absorbent. Add 1-2 cups water, along with 2 tsp’s stock powder and coconut cream. Bring it to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

  8. Serve with cracked black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice.

  9. Serve with rice, sweet potato mash, over a bundle of steamed veggies, with roasted veggies or as is.

 

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Scared you’re going to stuff the recipe up?

The only guarantee in cooking and in life, when you’re learning a new skill, the puzzle pieces won’t make sense. You will feel like you’re flailing and failing. You will feel like you’re going nowhere for a good few weeks, then all of a sudden, you’ll burst through. You’ll cook the perfect roast chook, a perfect pot of quinoa, crispy roasted potato chips, a kick arse roasted veggie dip – and for a moment in time, you’ve nailed it.

Watch out though, the next lesson is just around the corner.
Trying to avoid it will get you nowhere. Embrace it.

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Hey I'm Lou

Hey, I’m Lou

Back in 2013 I bought healthy salad delivery to busy women in the Sydney CBD. Mama to BJ. Lover of crispy bacon, popcorn and BYO’ing my own cashew milk to cafe’s for my coffee. My mission: to empower you in the kitchen to cook simple meals, so you can nourish your family – even when you’re busy AF because you (and they) are worth it. On this site you’ll find family-friendly recipes that are simple to make and delicious. Enjoy.

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