Dahl is a great main or side, and is full of heart healthy lentils. A traditional dish in India, it is a good vegetarian source of protein (when paired with rice). It’s Heart Awareness Month, World Pulse Day and Valentines Day this week. Which means chucking in some puns cannot be helped.

Why lentils? Lentils are a whole grain and whole grains are a great food for your heart, they contain healthful fibre that binds with free cholesterol in intestine which helps lower cholesterol. They also provide vitamins for our bodies as well as food for our gut bacteria in the form of indigestible fibre.

Dahl can be a quick easy recipe with minimal ingredients, although some dicing can be involved. Often recipes include fresh ginger, garlic and spices that are high in anti-inflammatory agents such as tumeric and cumin.

Try this heart healthy recipe, with a side of brown rice, home made raita and cumin dusted roast cauliflower for a healthy date night dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 250g black urid beans (also called urid dal, urad dal, black lentils or black gram beans – available from large supermarkets, this type takes time and may require a slow cooker) OR yellow split peas also work well or brown/puy/french lentils which cook faster without the soaking and can be done in a normal pot and pan.
  • 100g butter or ghee
  • 2 large onions (white or brown) finely diced
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder of 1 fresh chili
  • small bunch of coriander. Finely chop stalks, reserve leaves to serve
  • 400g chopped tomato or passata
  • 50 mL of double cream

What to serve it with:

  • Cooked rice, brown or Jasmine
  • Fresh coriander leaves
  • yoghurt or raita (follow the link to a good recipe)
  • crispy salad onions (easily make your own)
  • Roast cauliflower, dusted with cumin to get one more serve of veg in there
  • naan or pita bread

Method:

  1. If using traditional Urid beans, soak for 4 hours the night before. If using a split peas or brown lentils then skip this step but make sure to rinse your peas or lentils (check the pack for more accurate cook times).
  2. Melt the butter in a large pan, then add onions, garlic and ginger. Cook slowly for 10-15 minutes, make sure they don’t burn.
  3. Add the spices, coriander stalks, and 100 mL as well as the passata or chopped tomatoes and the chili.
  4. If soaking beans, drain, and add. If using brown lentils then rinse the dry lentils and add. Make sure to top up with 400 mL of water.
  5. Simmer! If using traditional beans cover and cook on low for 2 hours. If using brown lentils, cook for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Once ready, it should be a thick consistency, and the beans cooked through, stir in the cream and serve with the coriander leaves and any other seasoning you would like.

Enjoy with whatever fun sides you decided on. Sometimes we fry one egg to add a little extra animal protein, and the fat from the egg yolk goes beautifully with the dahl.

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