Brown lentils with jaggery

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A great recipe for an ‘everyday’ vegetarian/vegan meal – brown lentils cooked beautifully with tomatoes. The jaggery adds a delicious sweetness to the spiced lentils.

Ingredients for the lentil dhal

3 tomatoes, finely chopped
2tbsp sunflower oil
1tsp cumin seeds
Fresh curry leaves
Tomatoes, chopped
2tsps ginger garlic paste
1tsp turmeric
1tsp salt
1tsp chilli
400g brown lentils
1tbsp jaggery, grated (or dark brown or muscovado sugar)

Ingredients – for the Tadka

2 onions, a mix of thinly sliced and roughly chopped
2tbsps sunflower oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced


Method

Heat the sunflower oil in a pan, and when it’s hot, add the cumin seeds and the chopped tomatoes, cooking for five minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften. When the tomatoes have softened nicely, add the ginger garlic paste (or grate some fresh ginger instead), and cook for a few seconds. Add the turmeric, salt and chilli, stir and then add in the brown lentils and one litre of tap water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils have become really soft and have started to disintegrate. You may need to add some extra boiling water if the lentils need a bit more liquid to cook down enough without becoming too thick. Once they are cooked, remove them from the heat. Just before serving, add the grated jaggery to the lentils and stir to dissolve. Season to taste.

To prepare the Tadka, heat the sunflower oil in a pan, and add the onion. While the onions are softening, slice the garlic cloves and add them to the onions, and cook until they start to turn golden and then remove from the heat.

To serve, fill a bowl with the piping hot dhal and spoon the onions and garlic on top. Serve with naan, chapatis or rice, or on its own as a delicious soup.


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