It's January, and frankly, it's freezing. One of my aims with the blog this year is to share a "something-I-made" post each week, and so this week, it's a recipe. A giant pot of dhal, full of spices and warmth, topped with a crisp fried egg (because that's how I like them) and served with roast sweet potato. YUM.
And surprisingly healthy if you're trying to be good!
The recipe is pretty much this one from Jamie Oliver, and you can find it here, with a tweak or two based on my own preferences.
The first step in any recipe is to lay out all your ingredients as though you were in a cookery show, and make sure they seem Instagram worthy. It helps if you can use as many unnecessary little bowls as possible because that way you can create the maximum amount of washing up.*
As I said above, I made a few changes to the recipe. Before I go any further, I will state for the record that the changes are not at all based on knowledge and skills, but on practicality and a blind belief that if I just chuck something else in, it will probably by fine. Totes. Obvs.
(Sometimes it isn't).
But with this in mind, I didn't add curry leaves as there were none in the cupboard, and I opted to blend all my spices and herbs together. I put the coriander in with the onion, seeds, spices and herbs and so on, and pulsed the whole lot together in the Nutribullet to tumble them up and chop them quickly into small pieces.
Once it got to cooking the dhal, I chucked in a couple of bell peppers and a load of chestnut mushrooms. I wanted to add some more veg into the mix to make it more substantial and nutritious. Also I love mushrooms. They're brilliant. Chuck them in everything.
I also omitted the spinach as I didn't have any in and it seemed silly to add another £1 or so only the shopping bill for something that will wilt away to nothing. I like spinach if I get to taste and see it, but I thought it would just get lost here.
Cooking dhal is low maintenance. Once everything is in the pot, it can just sit there simmering to itself quite happily for basically as long as you like. I swapped the yoghurt in the recipe for coconut milk because it's much more delicious and will still give you a creamy taste and texture.
I decided to serve the dhal with roast sweet potato. I sliced them skin-on into discs, tossed them in a mixture of olive oil, finely chopped garlic, dried chilli and paprika, and roasted them in the oven for around 30 minutes.
The final step with 5 minutes to go is to fry a couple of eggs.
To serve, I dished up a hearty bow-worth of dhal, sprinkled over some more fresh coriander leaves, slid the egg on top. All that's needed is a stack of sweet potato and a spoon to go with, and you're laughing. The recipe made a huge amount so there was lots leftover for quick micro-wave dinners later in the week, but you still get to feel good about eating vegetables. Winning!
This is lovely hearty recipe for winter, and trying out different curries is one of my favourite thing to do when cooking. It's slow and thoughtful instead of manic and flashy, and it's low maintenance as it will happily bubble away while you do other things. It might seem fiddly to use lots of different spices but I always think the flavour payoff of cooking your own sauce from scratch is SO worth the time. So here's to cooking giant warming pots of curry!
P.S. Do you have any toasty, comforting recipes that you crack out for January?