This dhal reminds me of holidaying at my aunt’s home in the hills in a place called Ooty. This was the place where the British went to when it got too hot in India.
She would make this style of dhal and serve it with rice. She would bring out the steaming hot rice and dhal and I remember thinking ‘I can’t eat that, it’s way too hot!’ I would spoon it in my mouth very carefully, but it would cool down in an instant because the temperature was so cold. This is my soul food, reminding me of warm memories spent with family on holiday.
This is also my go to Indian dish when I want something quick and easy, but nutritious, yummy and filling.
You could add fresh diced tomatoes to this dish, or vegetables to make it a full meal.
Lentils – are high in Vitamins B1 and B6, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, zinc and potassium.
They help with heart health, it lowers your blood sugar levels and can increase your energy. Lentils are an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering fiber which also keeps you fuller for longer.
Cayenne pepper – contains capsaicin and, like chilli, has numerous benefits. It is used to improve blood circulation in your body. It helps with heart disease, malaria, migranes and fevers.
It contains vitamins C, B6 and E and flavoniods. So it is great for your immune system and is a wonderful antioxidant.
It is antifungal, and is active against 16 different fungal strains including candida.
I use it on cuts to stop the bleeding, kill any bacteria and improve and speed up healing time. It works wonders – I’ve had knife cuts heal in 24 hours with no residual pain and with little or no scarring.
Tomato – The humble tomato can decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer due to its lycopene content. This bioactive compound also helps with cardiovascular health.
The health benefits of tomatoes are increased with cooking and adding olive oil. Tomato paste also has shown to be more beneficial than raw tomatoes.
Tomatoes have an impressive array of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C tops the list. Biotin, vitamins K, A and E, copper, manganese, potassium, fiber, folate, vitamins B1, B3 and B6, magnesium, chromium, iron, zinc…all of these contribute to making the tomato a fantastic fruit (yes it is a fruit that we call a vegetable) to add to our cooking.
Onions – If you were to ask me what vegetable I always have in my home – it would be the onion. Always! I use it for a lot of things.
Topically, I use it to help relieve congestion. I chop up an onion and put it in socks. These I put it on my kids’ feet at night if they have a cold or a cough. It has the power to pull out toxins – you can also put a cut onion in a room if anyone is ill.
I make an onion and honey syrup that sits in the fridge in case of any respiratory illness.
I also know people who have successfully used a steamed cut onion for ear-aches.
Onions in olive oil lowers blood pressure and benefits your heart besides protecting you from cancer. They also help to prevent or reduce allergies.
It is antifungal and can help with ringworm and athlete’s foot. It has anti-depressant effects and can help prevent cataracts.
Make sure you peel just the paper skin on the outside of the onion. The onion’s health benefits are mainly concentrated in its outer layers.
Don’t keep a cut onion uncovered as it could absorb toxins (I’ve heard that you can keep a cut onion in the fridge to absorb bad odours). I personally haven’t tried it though.
Simple dhal (lentils)
- 1 cup split red lentils soaked for around and hour (if you don't have the time or have forgotten, just wash the dhal under running a couple of times)
- 1-2 cups water / broth just enough to cover the lentils
- 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic
- 1 Thumb-sized piece of fresh turmeric grated / 1 tsp of powdered turmeric
- 1 Thumb-sized piece of ginger cut into matchsticks or grated
- Pinch of black pepper powder
- Pinch of cayenne pepper powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- ½ tsp asafoetida
To season / temper
- Coconut oil / ghee to season
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds / cumin seeds
- 6-7 curry leaves
- 1 med onion sliced
- Fresh Coriander
- Add all the dhal ingredients to a thick bottomed pot on the stove on high heat
- Once the lentils begin to boil, skim the bubbles / scum off the surface and turn the stove to a medium setting
- Once the lentils are cooked, turn the stove off
To season / temper
- While the lentils are boiling, heat a small pan with coconut oil / ghee over high heat
- Add cumin / mustard seeds to the hot oil & turn the stove down to a medium setting (cumin burns very easily, so be mindful)
- When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the curry leaves & stir for around 10 secs or so
- Add the onions to the mix
- Once the onions are soft & translucent, turn the stove off & add the seasoning to the cooked lentils
- Serve with fresh coriander on brown rice, with a side of vegetables
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