Wednesday 4 May 2011

Aubergine, Coconut & Lime Dhal

One year when 7 of my friends and I took a jaunt down to Cornwall, I cooked up a vat of dhal (very Cornish, yes?) flavoured with gentle spices, coconut and lime to feed the masses and accompany a spicy dry lamb curry. Watching your friends devour something you've made is pretty damn satisfying and since then the recipe has been requested. I couldn't quite think of why it wasn't on the blog until I made it recently; it's quite ugly. Nevertheless, it's delicious and it feels like an enormous hug in a bowl, so here it is anyway. It's fairly adaptable; I've in the past thickened it with slimy okra, or loosened it with stock to make soup but my favourite form is as a dhal, to be scooped up with roti.

The coconut milk cooked with velvety aubergines can be quite rich, so a cooling red onion and cucumber salad freshens it all up a bit and adds a bit of punch.

Aubergine, Coconut & Lime Dhal

Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main

200gr red lentils
1 can of coconut milk + 2 canfuls of water or stock
1 tsp salt
1 large onion
6 garlic cloves
2" of ginger
A large pinch of asafoetida - not essential, but it keeps the uhm, wind away
1 tsp turmeric
1.5 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp (or to taste) chilli powder
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
2 green cardamom pods
1 tsp garam masala
1 large aubergine
3 tbsp oil
Chopped coriander, to serve
1 lime

Chop the onion, garlic and ginger finely, or whack it in a food processor. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Cook until they become aromatic, then add in the onion, garlic and ginger mixture. Cook this on a low heat until a deep brown but not burnt; this takes about 20 mins.

Add the chilli powder, asafoetida salt, ground coriander, the cardamom pods (split) and turmeric - stir well to combine. Wash the lentils and add to the pan, coating with the spices and finally add the coconut milk and water / stock. Bring to the boil and simmer merrily for 40 mins, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, slice the aubergine into fingers. Heat the rest of the oil in a nonstick pan and fry until browned on both sides. Add the aubergine into the simmering dhal - they need a good 20 mins in there so don't dilly dally.

5 minutes before the dhal is ready, add the garam masala. To serve, squeeze the juice of the lime over the dhal and sprinkle with coriander, chopped.

For your salad:

Red Onion & Cucumber Salad

1 red onion
1 red chilli
1/2 a cucumber
1 clove of garlic
1 stalk of spring onion
1/2 tsp black onion seeds
1 lemon
1.5 tbsp vegetable oil

Slice the red onion finely into half moons and using the juice of half a lemon, soak for 1/2 an hour. Drain, rinse and return to a bowl. Peel and deseed the cucumber, then add to the onion. Add the chilli, chopped finely. Mince the garlic and the spring onion and toss though the onion and cucumber. Finally, add the onion seeds.

Heat up the oil until almost smoking, then carefully pour over the onions and cucumber mix - it should sizzle. The idea is this brings out the aromatics. Leave to cool, and serve with the dhal.


Helen said...

I can confirm that the dahl is yummers. That salad bowl made me all nostalgic for Spain!

Hanna @ Swedish Meatball said...

This looks amazing; I've been feeling like making dhal lately but haven't gotten round to it yet - I'll definitely try this out!

Unknown said...

Wicked! Looks very nice. I'm on a dal mission at the moment, so will have to try aubergine in there too. Slowly working way through lots different pulses. Such good stuff.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

As a fanatic of all things dhal, I guarantee I'll be trying this asap. Have made many dhals, but never one with aubergines in, strangely enough. Strange, because I adore aubergines.

Ta for the recipe.

Ed said...

Looks perfect for this kind of weather - clear but cool evenings - when you want something comforting but also healthy and with a little freshness. Yum.

Patrick said...

Oh man this looks great. I don't know how but I've only discovered dahl in the past couple of years. Def making this tonight.

Phil Letts said...

Strangely enough,I currently have a very similar thing in some Tupperware for my lunch today, but with baby aubergines, tomatoes and slightly less garlic(NSFW!). I absolutely love dhal - yours looks delicious.

Cook in a Curry said...

Lizzie I think you secretly might be an Indian! This is exactly how my family would eat it. Dry meat dish with a hearty dal on the side with roti and kachumber salad of onion & cucumber. Only wish I was there to eat it too. It looks so good x

Fatty said...

Oh this looks awesome! Pleeease can you post the recipe for that spicy, dry lamb curry as well??

Su-Lin said...

Yum! Definitely gonna give it a go!

The Grubworm said...

That is some delectable dhal! I love the lentily stuff, but have never ventured past the fairly standard spicing, let alone into coconut milk and lime. You have inspired me to be more creative when it comes to this particular South Asian staple.

PDH said...

Dahl is WIN! Love the Aubergine with it as well. Looks gorgeous

tori said...

I second that gentle request for a post about the lamb curry. Add a couple of beers and it sounds like a perfect eve to me. said...

I just cooked this and its delicious. My boyfriend and i LOVED it. Thank you!

Corina said...

This looks so gorgeous - great for a meatless evening.

Unknown said...

Wow amazing Dahl dish. Its surprising how well conceived is Indian food in London, although here in Hong Kong, once a British colony and with spades of Indian residents living here - the cuisine can still do with some more improvements in execution!

Even when I used to live in Australia (Melbourne), the Indian food were a bit better!! Here's hoping... :)

Hollow Legs said...

Thanks all! The spicy dry lamb curry wasn't my invention, rather my friend's, learnt from his Pakistani mum which ensured much deliciousness. I'll endeavour to recreate it.

TOTKat said...

Perfect timing; I have a spare aubergine (thanks Abel and Cole) a Saturday evening to myself and a hankering for some dhal. Thanks!

hannah.soderlund said...

Made this last night - was wicked! Loved the aubergine and flavour (and colour!) was grrrreat, thanks for sharing a good recipe!

S said...

ok, how the hell did i miss this post? aubergine, coconut milk and dahl- my true loves in life. love the combo, Lizzie. mustve been great fun in Cornwall. x shayma

Becky said...

Hiya, I usually just lurk, but this is the first time I've tried a recipe from your site. It was simply fantastic! Quick and easy, and deep, comforting flavours - this coconut aubergine dal is definitely going to become a regular in our house. Thanks :)

kladoink said...

I found your blog last week and devoured it in one sitting! I was googling for a good dhal recipe for a prechristmas curry party we had on Sunday. I've never had much luck with dhal recipes for some strange reason but this was just heavenly. I absolutely loved it and it's going to be a staple in my house from now on, an ultimate comfort food for me. Thank you!

Hollow Legs said...

Becky & kladoink - very kind of you both to say - I'm so pleased you liked it :)