I have a bit of an obsession with trying out different daal recipes and I love that there are so many to choose from. This is a 15 minute, light and fresh daal from Jamie Oliver and while it doesn’t have the depth and oomph of a slow cooked Dishoom daal or a tarka daal, it’s a good choice for when you have a craving but you’re pressed for time.
Jamie Oliver never fails to surprise me with his inventiveness and the base for the daal, made from blending onion, garlic, ginger, coriander stalks and a red pepper, is a great shortcut. The finished daal reminded me of Anna Jones’s Sweet Potato Dhal, so I borrowed from Anna’s recipe and added the juice from half a lemon at the end; I think it gives it a bit of a lift.
I’ve been a Jamie Oliver fan for years. From adding Marmite to mushrooms, topping crumpets with grated, fried halloumi, and giving cheese toasties a crown, I get on really well with his recipes. Years ago I received a Jamie Oliver cookbook from a friend for my birthday; she said it was signed as she’d bought it from his parents' pub that she visited while on holiday. She described how Jamie’s dad’s face lit up when she asked to buy the cookbook - by this point Jamie Oliver was really famous, he wasn’t just starting out - but his dad was still so proud of him.
Every so often I have a cookbook cull but I always hang onto Jamie’s books. This daal recipe comes from the 15 Minute Meals book, which was published years ago but is still one of my favourites, even though I’ve yet to make any of the recipes within the 15 minute time frame.
Jamie's 15 Minute Meals (affiliate link) by Jamie Oliver
- 1 onion (halved)
- 1 clove of garlic (peeled)
- 2 inch chunk of ginger, peeled
- 1-2 fresh red chillies (adjust to suit your spice tolerance)
- 1 red pepper (deseeded)
- large bunch of fresh coriander
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or rapeseed oil
- small handful of fresh curry leaves
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 300g dried split red lentils
- 1 tin coconut milk (half or full fat)
- 200g baby spinach
- juice from half a lemon
- 500g ripe cherry tomatoes
- ½ a lemon
- 1 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil
- ½-1 tsp chilli powder (adjust to suit your spice tolerance)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 cloves of garlic
- salt and pepper
- 2 naan breads
- 125g natural yoghurt
- Fill and boil your kettle and preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan).
- Daal: Add 1 onion (halved), 1 peeled clove of garlic, a 2 inch chunk of peeled ginger, 1-2 fresh red chillies, 1 deseeded red pepper, a large bunch of coriander stalks (reserve the leaves) and a pinch of salt and pepper to a food processor. Blitz until the ingredients turn into a paste.
- Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable or rapeseed oil to a large, lidded casserole pan (mine is 26cm) then add a handful of fresh curry leaves, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds and 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds. Fry the spices for a few minutes then tip in the vegetable mixture from the food processor and fry for another few minutes.
- Add 300g of dried split red lentils, 1 tin of coconut milk (400ml) and 700ml of water to the casserole pan. Stir well, put the lid on and give the daal a stir every so often to prevent the lentils from catching on the bottom of the pan.
- Naan bread/tomato salad: While the daal cooks, put the naan breads into the oven. Halve 500g of cherry tomatoes and finely slice ½ a lemon (rind included).
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a medium frying pan then add ½-1 teaspoon of chilli powder (depending on your spice tolerance), 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds, 2 chopped cloves of garlic, the sliced lemon half and the halved tomatoes. Toss for 30 seconds then remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Scatter over the reserved coriander leaves.
- To serve: Stir 200g of spinach and the juice from ½ a lemon into the daal then turn off the heat. Remove the naan breads from the oven and take to the table along with the daal, tomato salad and a small bowl of yoghurt.