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Dal or lentils have the second highest protein content of pulses after soy beans, and more importantly are very tasty. There are many recipes for dal using a variety of ingredients, so you can adapt to whatever you may have ready in your veg garden or fridge.

The dal are generally boiled with flavourings and then once cooked a fried spice mix is added to complete the flavouring.
My regular readers will already know that I am a great fan of soaking dried pulses and grains for several hours or overnight. I find that this way the centre of the pulse is already softened so then they cook more evenly and quickly.

For 4 portions

70 grams green lentils/ Pardinas

70 grams moong dal/mung beans

50 grams white lentils

125 ml tomato passata / tomato frito

125 grams butternut squash cut into small cubes

Piece of fresh ginger 2x2x2 cm – chopped

1 small green chilli – chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the finishing spice

2 tablespoons peanut or olive oil

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

8 curry leaves

3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

piece of ginger 2 x 2 x 4 cm – finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon asafoetida

Put the lentils and beans in a container with a generous amount of cold water to allow for absorption. Leave for alt least four hours.

Once the lentils are soaked, drain and put in a pan with the passata, ginger, chilli, butternut squash and salt. Add water to cover.

Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer.

Check the water level from time to time and add more if needed. You want a fairly wet mix and some of the lentils will break up into the liquid and thicken it.

The lentils should take around 40 minutes to cook through, so check them after this time. If you prefer your curry to be a softer purée, then continue cooking a little longer.

Once the lentils are about done, prepare the spice mix.

Heat the oil in a shallow pan. Add the mustard and cumin seeds, then the curry leaves. Fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the garlic an ginger and fry for a few more minutes until the garlic is lightly browned.

Stir in the turmeric, coriander and asafoetida, then add the spice mix to the pan of lentils.

Stir well to mix in an leave to cook for another five minutes for the flavours to mix.

I served my curry with plain boiled brown rice, spicy spinach salad, a fresh peach chutney and pickles. So tasty! I’ll give you the recipe or the spinach salad and peach chutney tomorrow.