3 cups dried red split lentils
6 cups of water
1cm of fresh ginger
400g tinned tomatoes
1 vegetable stock cube (Massel)
2 tsp turmeric
3 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional!)
salt & pepper to taste
3 tsp fresh lemon juice
Heat the water in a pot until it is boiling. Add the lentils and vegetable stock cube. Bring to the boil (for around a minute), then reduce the heat to a simmer. Loosely cover the pot and cook (stirring occasionally) for approximately 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender (they will separate into a thick layer on the bottom and a liquid layer on top).
Heat up a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan (low to moderate heat). Add all of the spices to the pan (no oil!) and keep stirring to prevent the spices from burning. It should only take about 30 seconds or so to cook out the spices (they will darken slightly and you will be able to smell them more strongly). Tip the spices into a small bowel. Add some oil to the pan and the finely chopped leek and ginger. Cook until soft and slightly browned.
Once the lentils are cooked add in the cooked spices, browned leek and ginger, tinned tomatoes and lemon juice. Stir thoroughly and then let the mix simmer for around 30 minutes.
The dhal can be served with some brown rice or basmati rice, or for a very healthy low calorie option, over some steamed green beans or zucchini. This recipe is for quite a large batch, as we love left overs for freezer meals!