For the imperfect Fashion lover.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Easy Dhal Recipe | Vegetarian Family meal, on a Budget.

Quick and Easy Dhal Recipe.

A nutritious vegetarian family meal on a budget.

Feeding a large family can be expensive and time consuming.
I need home-cooked healthy and cheap meals and I need them quickly {most of the time, anyway}.

I have no time or patience for fussy eaters and multiple meal making.

At dinner time The Menu at my house always has two choices on it:
  1. Take it
  2. Leave it
In my experience, they only take the 2nd option once...a hungry belly at bedtime is not pleasant.

Children soon learn that dinner time means it's time to eat good food.

This is a well balanced meal that is easy and quick to make, perfect for busy mums and dads....or anyone who hates faffing around!

Dhal and Greens.

(Please note: You can add crushed garlic and/or sliced Chilli to this recipe and it adds a little extra grown-up kick...just fry with the onions)

Ingredients (to serve 6):

500g of Red lentils, OR 300g Red lentils & 200g Yellow spilt peas 

2 chopped Onions 
Oil, for frying
Salt and Black Pepper
2 heaped tsp Cumin seeds
2 heaped tsp ground Turmeric
1 tsp Fennel seeds (optional)
Approximately 1L of Water (start with about 700ml in the pan then top up with boiling water, for the kettle, if you need it)
Any Green Vegetables but a Cabbage is perfect.

Approx. 500g Rice (depending on how hungry your family are!) 
The recommendation is 60g dry weight per person but I always make 100g per person because there are some big eaters here....and it allows for "seconds".

Fresh Coriander to Garnish (optional but it looks nice!)

Ingredients for dhal

Frying onions and cumin.
Fry the onions, cumin and fennel (and garlic/chilli, if you are using them) for at least 10 minutes {20 is better} over a medium to low heat.
Be careful not to burn them. 
They need to be soft, golden, fragrant and a little caramelised.
Cooking lentils
While the onions are cooking: Rinse your lentils (and split peas) in plenty of running cold water.
This stops a 'scum' developing on the top of the dhal.
Place the lentils (and peas) in a pan and add approximately 700ml of cold water.
Bring it to the boil then stir in the ground tumeric and the salt.
Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep stirring (and checking the consistency) to stop it sticking and burning.
Add more water if you need it.
Cook for about 20 minutes until the lentils are mushy and the peas are soft.

Meanwhile get a pan of salted water on and cook your rice (as per instructions on the packet).

Wash and slice your cabbage (or greens) and add it to the pan with the onions.
Turn up the heat and add about 2 tablespoons of boiling water (from the kettle or your rice pan)
Pop a lid over it and steam the cabbage for 5 minutes.
Mix well to get the delicious spices, oil and caramelised onions coating everywhere.

Drain your rice and serve.
You can garnish with fresh Coriander if you like.
It does make the dish look very nice but I did not bother here, children were calling out for food!

I love the way this meal causes a family silence....No bickering, moaning, fussing or poking food. Just 6 pairs of eyes focused on eating, and maybe getting "seconds".
That is a true sign of a successful meal.

I hope you enjoy making (and eating) this meal.
Please let me know, if you do.

Dhal, rice and greens



  1. This is the kind of thing I'm looking for to cure my fat bastardness. But with so much lentils & cabbage which air freshener does one recommend?

    1. Hahahaha...thank you for that! I would recommend opening a window :oD


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