A few weeks ago, my friend had a baby. Yep, a real, live baby.
My mother told me that when friends have babies, you must make and take them some food! So that is what I did.
I decided to make something that could be frozen, because that would mean that the food could be eaten at my new-mother-friend’s convenience.
I decided to make two dishes: Gobi dhal (red lentil and cauliflower curry) and vegetable lasagne. Please return on Thursday for the lasagne post. Here, we will discuss gobi dhal.
The recipe for this comes from an Indian cook book that has been lying around the house for as long as I can remember. No one is exactly sure where it came from; all we know is that the recipes contained within it are excellent.
The book is inventively called Indian Cooking, by Khalid Aziz, and it was published in 1983. Good food is timeless! The recipe is as follows:
225g red lentils (or pink split lentils, or masoor dal)
1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 medium onions, peeled and finely diced
100g ghee (I used about 70g coconut oil, just so that the dish was less oily)
1 tsp chilli powder (I used much less and it was still very spicy)
2 tsp ground black pepper
½ tbs ground cumin
½ tbs ground coriander seeds
2 tsp ground tumeric
½ lemon, juiced
600mL stock (book says chicken but use other for vegetarians)
50g desiccated coconut
½ tbs flour
1 tsp salt
100g cashew nuts (I used macadamias too, as I bought a mix by accident)
- First things first. Wash the lentils in a colander until the water runs clear.
- In a large, heavy based saucepan, heat the ghee or oil on a low heat. Fry the onions for about 10 minutes, until they soften.
- Add the spices: chilli powder, pepper, cumin, coriander seeds, tumeric. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the lentils and stir.
- Add the cauliflower florets, and continue to stir. Add the stock and coconut, and stir some more.
- Bring to the boil, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir fairly frequently to avoid sticking.
- Mix the flour in a separate bowl with some of the liquid from the stove. Form a smooth paste, and pour it back into the saucepan. This helps to thicken the curry.
- Add the cashew nuts and the salt, to taste.
- Cook for 5-10 minutes until the lentils have formed a thick sauce.
- Add the lemon juice and stir though. Add more lemon juice, to taste. Adjust other seasonings to taste also.
This recipe seemingly has a lot of ingredients, but it is very simple to make. And tastes extremely good. I’ll admit that it is not that attractive, as far as food goes – but don’t let appearances put you off!
This quantity would serve about 6-9 people. It would be best served with steamed rice, yoghurt, a salad, and some herbs (such as coriander) on top.
I made a double quantity and, as mentioned, froze it all. Apparently it can keep for many months this way. I have a rather large amount, so I think quite a few of my friends are going to benefit from this cook-up…