With the recent move into autumn and recognising the need for heartier dishes during these colder months, what better way to start than with the ultimate Indian home comfort food, the Black Dhal (sometimes spelt ‘daal’ or ‘dal’). A stand-out recipe for us at Cookt, dhal is loaded with fibre, protein, magnesium, and all the good stuff. It’s also a great dish to master when cooking on a budget — how could we not share this all-rounder with you?
A thick puree-like soup made from lentils, dhal is an indispensable dish to most Indian thalis. We know at first, cooking a dhal can sound a little daunting, especially if you don’t fancy spending a day standing and stirring at the stove, but trust us on this one — it’s quicker than most and the outcome is well-worth it. It can be served up as part of a feast, or choose it as your hero dish alongside some rice or roti — though we here prefer mopping it all up with a delicious puri. We also suggest making double, and keeping it in the freezer for those lazy winter evenings.
As many of you will know, the much-loved Mowgli was born in 2014, following founder Nisha Katona’s urge to recreate the smash and grab of Indians eating in their homes and along the streets. Steering away from the conventionally hushed dining experience, typically seen in most Indian restaurants, Mowgli embraces the vibrancy and no-nonsense approach of Indian culture. Its menu selection is also far from the regular curry stereotype. Having left her career as a barrister behind, Nisha was determined to showcase Indian food as the healthiest, quickest and most reasonably priced cuisine around. She began by opening the first Mowgli restaurant in Liverpool, shortly followed by Manchester. Fast forward a few years, Mowgli now comprises 11 restaurants around the UK (with another on the way), plus its own holy-grail of cookbooks which was released in 2018. Which (clearly) we love!
Like thousands of others, we’re so grateful to Nisha for sharing her family’s treasured recipes in this book, enabling us and fellow diners to recreate our favourite dishes from the beloved menu, all from our very own kitchens. It is a brilliantly authentic book and Nisha’s love for food is apparent from beginning to end. Something which was officially recognised in 2018, when she was awarded her MBE for her services to the food industry. If you’ve been following us on Instagram this past week, you’ll have seen that Mowgli will feature as one of the very first books on the Cookt platform, in it’s unique interactive cookbook glory, from our launch date. We are all a little bit excited, so keep your eyes peeled for further blog content as we continue to reveal and share some of our favourite recipes from each of the cookbooks and authors featuring. Anyway, we’d love to know how you get on!
Tag us (@hellocookt) in your photos and use the hashtag #CooktByYou, we’ll be sharing a few of our favourites as the weeks go by!
Luckily for you, the entire book will be available to purchase and download via the Cookt website and app. Sign up, pencil it in and roll on The Himalayan Cheese on Toast!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
This is the staple dahl for many Indians — wonderfully filling and fabulously vegan. With big hitting flavours, this is one of those dishes that makes veganism easy.
250g/9oz urid dahl
400g/14oz canned chopped tomatoes
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 large green chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 small white onions, thinly sliced
8cm/3 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp chilli powder
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 small bunch of fresh coriander/cilantro, leaves and stalks chopped
- In a medium-size saucepan add the urid dahl, chopped tomatoes and turmeric, then cover with 1.5 litres/52fl oz/6. cups cold water and stir together. Bring up to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 -1 3/4 hours or until the lentils are tender and cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Put the vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan set over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds and fry until they turn dark brown. Add the green chilli and bay leaves and fry for a further 20 seconds. Add the onions, ginger and garlic and fry for 6 minutes or until they soften and turn golden brown.
- Add the ground cumin, coriander, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and chilli powder and fry for 30 seconds. Carefully ladle the cooked lentils into the pan with the spices and onions and stir until everything is fully mixed.
- Bring the lentils up to the boil, adding more water if necessary, then stir through the lemon juice, salt and sugar. The dahl should have the consistency of thick porridge. Finish by stirring through the chopped fresh coriander.