Rachel Demuth, owner of Demuth’s Cookery School in Bath, shares with us one of her favourite dal recipes – Rasam. This delicious Southern Indian soupy tomato dal is flavoured with tamarind and super quick to make as it is made with red lentils that cook quickly.
This means it’s a great go to dish if you are short of time or new to making dal, especially as it has just a few simple ingredients. You can create something mouthwatering, nourishing and impressive with very little fuss and time spent in the kitchen. What’s not to love about that! No wonder dal is a staple in so many countries.
Rachel makes this Rasam on her Southern Indian Cookery classes, and serves it with idlis and coconut chutney.
Soupy Tomato Dhal
Dietary: Vegan, Gluten-free
thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp sunflower oil
50g red split lentils
2 tsp masala spice powder
1 tsp turmeric
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp tamarind liquid
2 green chillies, split and de-seeded
squeeze of lemon
2 tsp sunflower oil
2 red chillies, split, de-seeded
1 tbsp mustard seeds
handful of curry leaves
Heat the oil and stir-fry the ginger and garlic until fragrant.
Add the lentils, turmeric, masala spice powder, water, tomatoes, tamarind liquid and green chillies.
Simmer for about 20 minutes, then season to taste with salt and a squeeze of lemon and set aside.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chillies, mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds start to pop, pour the hot oil over the lentil mixture.
Serve in little bowls as part of a thali or for breakfast with idlis or dosas.
Tips: To make 2 tablespoons of tamarind liquid, pull off a walnut sized piece of tamarind from a block of soft tamarind and just cover with boiling water, when it is soft sieve out the hard seeds and retain the pulpy liquid.
Indian Masala Spice Mix
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp chilli powder
Heat a small frying pan without any oil and dry fry the whole spices. Best to dry-fry each type of spice separately. Decant at once onto a plate, as they will continue to cook in the frying pan and burn easily.
Grind the dry-fried spices to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar or spice mill. Add the ground turmeric and chilli.
Keep the spice mix in a sealed jar in a cool dark place.