One of my all-time favourite meals is this super simple, comforting and nourishing lentil dahl. It’s quick enough to make any night of the week and uses ingredients which are normally always in my kitchen, so it’s a great go-to option when I’m feeling lazy. I always make HUGE batches because it’s easy to freeze and reheat. This recipe serves the dahl with my gluten-free chapatis but you can also use brown rice or cauliflower rice to accompany the dahl. Cauliflower rice is now fairly readily available in supermarkets or is easy to make by grating a cauliflower head and steaming for 2-3 minutes and means you get an extra portion of veg on top of all the other goodness in this dish.
Lentil dahl with chapatis
Gluten Free | Dairy-Free | Vegan
Time: 10 minutes to prepare + 30-40 minutes to cook
Makes: 8 portions of curry and 8 chapatis
- 1L vegetable stock
- 600g dry red lentils
- 800ml coconut milk (in a tin)
- 2 onions chopped
- 1 green pepper chopped
- 2-inch piece of ginger grated
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 red chilli chopped (use less if you don’t want it too spicy)
- 1 bunch of coriander chopped
- 30g desiccated coconut
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 200g spinach
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 300g buckwheat flour (or if not gluten-free you can use plain wholemeal flour)
- 3/4 tsp xanthum gum (if using wheat flour you do not need to add this)
- 200ml water
- pinch of salt
At least 2 hours before cooking: If you’re making this dish in the evening, cover your lentils with water in the morning and leave them to soak in cold water. Red lentils don’t require soaking for as long but 2-3 hours helps remove the phytates which can make lentils indigestible for some and can prevent you absorbing valuable nutrients like iron and protein.
- Start by making the dough by combining the flour water and salt in a bowl – mix with your hands until you have a soft dough, add water slowly as you may not need all of it – if you need to, add more flour so the dough is not too sticky.
- Sprinkle flour on your work surface and then put a little olive oil on the ball of dough. Knead the dough by pushing it away from you on the work surface and then pulling it back into a ball and repeat for about 5-mins until the dough feels elastic. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest on one side. You will be rolling the dough later so no need to wipe down the surface yet – unless you need the space to prep the vegetables!
- Start the dahl by washing and chopping the pepper, chopping the onions, coriander and chilli (I generally use 1 x chilli and remove the seeds to make it spicy but not too spicy!) and grating the ginger and garlic.
- Boil the kettle and make 1 L of vegetable stock, while the kettle is boiling rinse the lentils well in cold water.
- In a large pan, heat the coconut oil and add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft
- Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and chilli and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
- Add the stock, lentils, coconut milk and desiccated coconut and stir well
- Bring to the boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 20-30 minutes to reduce down
- While Dahl is cooking start preparing the chapatis – warm the oven to 160 / gas mark 3
- Take the dough and add a little more flour to the work surface. Split the dough into 8 even size pieces.
- Put a dry frying pan on to the hob and heat it until hot. Keep medium-high heat on under the pan. Roll each piece of dough out to be about half a cm thick and 12-15cm wide. I suggest rolling one and putting it into the pan to cook and then rolling the next – especially if you have limited space in your kitchen!
- Cook each chapati until dark spots start to appear, flip and cook on the other side – a bit like a pancake but easier to flip! It should take 1-2 minutes to cook each side.
- As you cook the chapatis put them in the oven to keep warm. I would normally turn the oven off so it doesn’t get too hot and dry out the chapatis.
- As you are cooking the last 2/3 chapatis put the spinach into the lentils to cook down – this should take just 5-minutes.
- Serve the dahl with the chapatis on the side. As an alternative serve the dahl with cauliflower rice or brown rice.