As dal is healing, I thought I would adapt this recipe which I found somewhere. Traditional dal is soupy not thick, so that it mixes nicely with the rice, but I prefer a thicker consistency. Fresh curry leaves are a great addition – you can buy them online at Amazon! Great discovery when you are not mobile! I have added ginger and fresh turmeric to the original recipe as extra immunity boosters. Unfortunately I also added fennel seeds before I discovered my mistake and chucked in the cumin seeds as well. It still tasted great!
400g toor dal or split pigeon peas
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
handful fresh curry leaves (or dried)
2 green finger chillies, finely chopped
1 inch ginger peeled and chopped
1 inch turmeric, peeled and chopped
1 large brown onion, diced
200g baby spinach
1 ½ tsp tamarind paste
1 ¾ tsp salt
1 tsp dark brown sugar or jaggery
Wash the toor dal in cold water till the water runs clear, then put in a deep saucepan and cover with a litre and a quarter of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a whisper and simmer for 25-30 minutes, scooping off any foam, until soft. Drain water off if you want a thicker consistency.
Meanwhile, on a medium flame, heat the oil in a large frying pan for which you have a lid, then fry the cumin and curry leaves for a minute, until they crackle. Add the chillies, onion, ginger and turmeric and cook, stirring every now and then, for 12 minutes, until the onion is soft and golden. Add the spinach, cover the pan and leave to steam for a couple of minutes, until the spinach has wilted, then stir so the spinach is coated in oil (this will help it retain its bright green colour).
Stir the spinach mix, tamarind paste, salt and sugar into the dal, and cook on a medium heat for five minutes, then taste: the sourness of the tamarind should balance with the saltiness and sweetness, so adjust until it tastes right to you. Serve with basmati rice and/or chapatis, pickle and a dollop of coconut yoghurt (if you eat dairy).