For Indian food beginners Lentil Dahl is a great place to start. It’s uncomplicated requires little ingredients, one pot and a few spices. Lentils are a great source of protein and dietary fibre which makes Dahl a nutritious fulfilling vegetarian dish.
Dahl is made from pulses usually lentils that are split and stewed with spices. Turmeric is added which gives its yellow colour but more importantly Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory and has had proven links in preventing and reducing the production of cancer cells. Big tick √
This is a basic recipe and can be adjusted to your liking. Some recipes also add extra vegetables in the stewing process along with chopped tomatoes. I have added some baby spinach for added greens and sliced green chilli for heat but feel free to experiment.
A easy Indian Dish that is protein packed and great for vegetarians
1 tb EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 diced onion
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
1-2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 cups water or vegetable stock
1 cup rinsed red lentils
1 cup baby spinach leaves
sliced green chillies to garnish
Salt and Pepper
- In a medium saucepan add EVOO and onion and saute’ for 1 minute.
- Add garlic, turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder, ginger, and saute’ for 2 minutes until onions are soft and spices are aromatic
- Add water/stock and lentils stir and bring to the boil
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low and with lid on simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Stir through baby spinach and serve with sliced chilli and Naan Bread
Naan is a flat bread and is a staple in Indian cuisine. It is used to scoop up curries and stews, can also be stuffed with meat or salads and has many different variations depending on where you are from. I have used a basic Indian Naan recipe with a few healthier alternatives, I have replaced all-purpose white flour with wholemeal spelt flour also traditionally is lightly brushed with butter once cooked, I did omit this to keep the saturated fat low. Some other variations from different countries including Burma, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran to name a few have their own versions which are spread with garlic, added sesame seeds, nuts or raisins, cumin seeds, or even cheese more like a pizza.
Nothing beats homemade Naan bread and surprisingly its a lot easier than you think. Store bought most often contain preservatives and additives for pro longed shelf life which I avoid so if you have a little extra time make it yourself. It took me 5-10 mins to prepare, leave it to rest while you put the Dahl on. I left it, picked up the kids from school and the dough was ready to pan cook.
Really is worth the extra time of prepping to have this soft, fresh bread to scoop up the aromatic spicy lentils. Indian at home couldn’t get more easier.
Spelt Naan Bread
Basic homemade Indian Naan bread perfect accompaniment to curries, stews and other Indian dishes
1 tsp instant dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1 tsp stevia or sweetener of choice (optional)
2 cups wholemeal spelt flour (you can use all-purpose plain flour)
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
3 tbsp plain natural yoghurt
2 tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil
optional 2tb melted butter for brushing on finished naan
- In a small bowl add the yeast and warm water whisk together set a side for a few minutes to dissolve and starts to activate.
- Meanwhile in a medium bowl mix together the flour, stevia and salt set aside
- Add yoghurt and olive oil to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine, Pour into the flour and mix through with a fork.
- The dough should be sticky and when it comes together turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently bring into a ball do not over work.
- lightly oil a clean bowl and place the dough inside, cover with cling wrap or a clean tea towel and place in a warm place to rise. I like somewhere near my oven if it’s on or near a window where the sun drifts in.
- Leave it for at least an hour if not more the warmer it is the quicker it will rise. It should double in size. Don’t worry if it doesn’t exactly double.
- Turn it again onto a floured surface and cut with a butter knife into 5 pieces
- Roll each piece into round flats
- Heat a heavy non stick based fry pan on high heat to start, place one round into the pan and spread out a little with your fingers being careful not to make holes. Cook for 1-2min until the bottom is golden and has some black char marks on them. Flip and cook for further 1-2mins. You may need to turn the heat down to medium if cooking too quickly.
- Repeat with remaining dough
- This is where you can brush with melted butter
- Serve warm or cold with your favourite Indian dishes