Since we’ve become pretty much vegetarian (with the exception of fish), I’ve been looking at alternative sources of protein that are gluten free (for Miss E), low calorie (for Mr. B), and also won’t break the bank. Pulses tick all the boxes, so I’ve looked at lots of different ways of cooking them. I didn’t really like lentils and such when I was a kid, so whatever I make must taste delicious.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Jamie Oliver’s cooking, and I came across this gem when I was looking for daal recipes online. You can find his original recipe here.
The first time I made this meal, it was a bit of a palaver, but there are a few hints I will share with you that have made it pretty quick and easy.
Firstly, this amount of daal will feed a family of four twice, so freeze half and it will save you a whole step the next time you make it. Also, start earlier than you think you need to, as the daal takes a while to cook.
Secondly, Jamie makes his own chappatis half way through the rest of the cooking, and I just didn’t have enough hands or time, so I’m happy to use store bought roti, which is actually really good. I keep gluten free tortillas or wraps in the freezer and just defrost one for Miss E when I make this for dinner. I’ll give the home made chappatis a try one day, but for a realistic cook time on a week night it’s a no go for me.
It’s most definitely worth it having a go at this, as it slaps you around the face with the intense flavours and aromas, and it’s good the next day too. I heat it up for my own lunch, and the kids say it’s pretty good as a cold packed lunch for school.
- 1 large aubergine (or two if you are extra hungry or planning leftovers for tomorrow. I sometimes use pumpkin or cauliflower too)
- 2 red onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 thumb sized pieces of ginger
- 4 tblsp Rogan Josh curry paste (I use Patak's)
- Groundnut oil
- 500g yellow split peas
- 2 litres vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
- 1 fresh red chilli (optional)
- 1 handful fresh curry leaves (I always use dried as I can't find fresh)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4.
- Cut the aubergines into roughly 2cm cubes.
- Peel and slice the onions and garlic.
- Finely grate the ginger.
- Combine all these in a high-sided roasting pan with the curry paste and groundnut oil and stir well to coat everything.
- Roast for 20 - 30 minutes, checking and shaking the vegetables half way, or until caramelized and sticky. Be careful not to burn.
- Remove half the roasted vegetables to a large saucepan to start the daal.
- Turn off the oven and return the remaining vegetables to keep warm. You may want to cover the pan with foil so they don't dry out.
- Place the saucepan on the hob on a low heat and stir in the split peas.
- Pour in the hot vegetable stock.
- Simmer gently for about 1 hour 20 minutes with the lid on , or until daal has thickened and split peas are tender, stirring occasionally and adding a splash of water to loosen if needed.
- In the last 20 minutes, rinse rice in a colander with running cold water.
- Place rice in a pan with a pinch of salt and 3 cups boiling water.
- Stir once and cook on medium heat with the lid on for about 12 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed and little holes appear on the surface of the rice. Turn off the heat and leave with lid on until everything else is ready.
- Meanwhile, make the temper.
- Finely slice the chilli if using, and place in a small frying pan with the curry leaves, mustard seeds and what Jamie describes as a 'good lug' of groundnut oil.
- Fry for 1-2 minutes or until crispy and the mustard seeds have begun to pop a bit.
- Sprinkle the temper over the daal and serve with the rice, roasted vegetables and warmed flatbreads.
- Let everyone load up their bread with goodies, roll up and enjoy.
- Sooo good!