It wasn’t often that I got to enjoy home-cooked food while growing up but, on the rare occasions when a meal that didn’t originate from a packet was put on the table, it was usually always curry of some kind. My Grandmother grew up in Bangladesh and, after she moved to the UK, she used cooking as her way to reconnect with her roots. She made the most incredible range of curries: lamb, chicken, prawn, vegetable, you name it, she did it and she did it beautifully. I’d often request she made a range of them all whenever we visited so I could try every single one but my favourite was always her dhal. It was such a light, simple dish yet the flavours were so wholesome and I could tell my body loved it as I would always crave more. Though this recipe isn’t an exact replicate of the one she used to cook for me, it did get her seal of approval and so I will take that as a huge success.
I cannot emphasise how much I adore the lentils in this recipe. They’re so warming and soak up so much flavour when mixed with the spices. The addition of coconut butter makes an amazing dairy-free substitute for ghee which gives a delicious creaminess and the spinach packs in iron, calcium and vitamins A, B2 and C. As someone who did enjoy a number of unhealthy treats growing up, it’s amazing that one of my favourites is in fact a completely nourishing dish – and I couldn’t be happier about that!
- 1 cup of yellow split lentils
- 1 large bowl of spinach
- 1 small onion
- 1-2 green chillis (to taste)
- 1 inch grated ginger
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- A handful of fresh coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon coconut butter
- 1/2 a tablespoon coconut oil
Begin by rinsing your lentils thoroughly until the drained water is clear. Place them in a large saucepan and submerge in boiling water, about an inch above the layer of lentils. Begin to simmer. Add the coconut butter, then cover and cook for around 40 minutes.
In the meantime, finely chop your onion and chillis (discard the seeds if you prefer it milder), grate your ginger and mince your garlic. In a saucepan, heat some coconut oil on a medium temperature and add your onions. Cook until softened and slightly brown, then add your ginger, garlic and the rest of your dried spices. Mix together and cook until the garlic begins to brown. If necessary, add a little bit of boiling water to create more of a paste-like mixture.
When your lentils are done, give them a good stir to create a porridge-like consistency. If the mixture is too dry, add a little extra water, then stir in your paste mixture and spinach. Allow the spinach to wilt. Add you salt and pepper to taste, a sprinkle of fresh coriander, then serve alongside some brown rice/cauliflower rice/quinoa and/or mixed greens.