Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Dal Makhani

When I first made this dish I declared it to be the best thing I'd ever cooked - an overstatement, perhaps, but certainly an indication of how deliciously moreish it was straight out of the pan. Creamy, comforting and with just enough spice to warm but not burn, it goes perfectly with some rice, poppadoms and mango chutney. It's another Ballymaloe creation, and so so easy to prepare (provided you have a supply of muslin on hand to construct a bouquet garni. My top-cheat tip: the foot of a pair of (clean) tights works just as well!)

Unlike a lot of Indian food, I found this doesn't stand up to second-day munching, so best to make just enough of to feed people on the night - plus a good bit extra for chef's tasting rights, of course...

Dal Makhani (Spiced Lentils and Kidney beans)
Serves 4

6 cardamom pods, 3 bay leaves, 2 cloves garlic, small piece of peeled fresh ginger, 2tsp coriander seeds, 1 cinnamon stick - all tied up in muslin to create a spice bag like a bouqet garni
175g Puy or green lentils
75g tinned kidney beans
1 onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp cream
25g butter

25g butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
1 green chilli, chopped

1. Put lentils, onion and spice bag in a deep saucepan with double their volume of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about an hour until soft but not mushy, adding more water if necessary.
2. When the lentils are soft, stir in the butter, kidney beans and half the cream .
3. Make the dressing by melting the butter in a small frying pan and frying the cumin seeds and garlic until the spices start to colour. Add the onion and fry for a few more minutes, then add the tomatoes and chilli. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
4. Combine the dressing with the pulses and the remaining cream. Season to taste.

I can't wait to make this again.

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