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Dhal Bhat

When my sister asked if I would like to join her on a trek to Annapurna base camp in Nepal, I jumped at the opportunity to discover interesting and vegetarian-friendly food. I was lucky enough to cook with our guide’s wife Sharmila, who showed me how to cook dhal bhat. Nepalese dhal is a soupy dish, which is then poured over white rice to eat. It’s up to you which lentils you choose. Split red lentils cook the fastest or choose split black urad dhal or split and de-husked mung dhal. I was truly happy to share this wonderful dish at my Himalayan Mountain Feast class last night and with all of you here now.

Dhal Bhat

Dietary: Vegan, Gluten Free

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 150g split black urad dhal, washed
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • A thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 400ml water
  • 4 tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 green chillies, kept whole but split and de-seeded
  • to taste: lemon juice and salt

Tempering

  • 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil or ghee
  • 2 red chillies, split, de-seeded
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • A handful of Jimbu (Nepalese herb) or curry leaves

Method:

  1. Heat the sunflower oil and stir fry the ginger, garlic and fenugreek seeds until fragrant.
  2. Add the lentils, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder, water, tomatoes and green chilli.
  3. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, then season to taste with salt and a squeeze of lemon and set aside.
  4. Before you temper your spices, warm the dhal up.

Tempering

  1. Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and add the chillies and mustard seeds and Jimbu or curry leaves.
  2. When the mustard seeds start to pop, pour the hot flavoured oil over the hot dhal and serve at once.

Tips:

  • You can add any seasonal vegetables you like to this dish to make it more of a meal. Small cubes of squash or carrot, sliced beans, cauliflower or a handful of spinach are all good additions.

Nepalese Dhal Bhat

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