We took some simple vegetarian ingredients and turned them into a lovely starter or, in larger portions, our dal soup makes a great cheap and cheerful family dinner. And remember that because they are small, split in half and skinned, red lentils are the quickest cooking of all pulses. However, they tend to disintegrate – this makes them great for dals and soups, less so for salads or sides.
SERVES 4 // COOKING TIME 30 min
800 ml vegetable stock
250g red lentils
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
410g tin chopped tomatoes
2½ cm ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and black pepper
Plain yoghurt, to serve
1. Place the stock and lentils in a pot over medium heat. Simmer for 15–20 minutes, until lentils are soft.
2. Dry-fry the spices in a non-stick pan over medium heat until fragrant. Grind coarsely with a mortar and pestle.
3. Melt the butter in the pan over medium heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes, until soft. Then add the tomatoes, ginger, garlic and spice mix, and cook for 10–15 minutes.
4. Add the onion mix to the lentils and stir through. Season. Serve each bowl with a dollop of yoghurt.