We’re all friends here, so I can be honest. And other people writing food blogs might say stuff like that and it’s nice, but you KNOW they’re speaking figuratively because they’re all shockingly popular and you’ve never met any of them. Well, I actually KNOW we’re all friends here, because no one randomly stumbles upon a little blog like this one. The internet is one giant ocean and I’m a little plankton swimming around making pies. So I KNOW you’re all either friends of mine or at the very biggest stretch you’re a friend of my mother's, and if you are I’ll figure you’ll forgive me for the following confession:
I didn't make up this Dhal recipe. It's Yotam Ottolenghi’s. I just copied what he said out of a book, which is why this post is destined to be sparse and barely informative because I don't actually know whether I’m allowed to post someone else’s recipe on my food blog. Also because it feels fraudulent to steal someone else’s tasty dish and claim it as my own. But the thing is, I’m not very experienced with this kind of cooking. Not to the degree where I can get confident and creative and mix things up and make it my own. But there’s only one way to learn! And even making this dish has taught me a couple of things that I figure I can share without being a total copier.
Firstly, this dahl is made from Urad lentils, which I've never cooked with before! If you soak about a cup of them for 4-5 hours before cooking they’ll get all nice and tender and will cook in about 30 minutes.
I also learnt that one cup serves about 4 people, and that you cook it in 1L of water, along with whatever flavours you like! This is the part I need to experiment with. In clever, lovely Ottolenghi’s recipe he used coconut cream, lime (I forgot lime and used lemon, it was nice), garam marsala, and fresh tomatoes.
You know, a lot of people don't know who Yotam Ottolenghi is, and if you’re one of them I INSIST you watch his series Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feasts on youtube). It’s like… some kind of culinary meditation, but even better and more relaxing. He just sails around summery European islands and tastes delicious rustic meals prepared by grizzled old ladies in their backyards. If you’ve had a stressful day and can't seem to calm your brain, all you need to do is get a bottle of red wine and play Mediterranean Feasts on loop and you’ll be right as rain, and very hungry. In which case you can then go and tipsily cook yourself some dhal!
I do need to give you a proper dhal recipe, and I will, but it might take a week or two because I want to give you one that is MINE, or at least, more mine than this one, which is 100% lovely Yotam’s. Bear with me please! (For those of you who are keen to try it, Ottolenghi's recipe is here)
In the mean time, I improvised a salad dressing to go with the dhal which was 100% my own and surprisingly tasty! So for now you’ll have to be content with the recipe for that!
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp green chilli sauce (I used a Jalapeño and Habanero Mexican one, which someone has lovingly named 'Megasoreass')
1 garlic clove, crushed
A little buttermilk to thin it down (but you could probably use water, almond milk or similar)
1/2 tsp white vinegar
A pinch of salt
What to do
Mix the peanut butter and tahini together until they form a paste
Then aadd all the other ingredients and whisk them around until they made a nice runny vinaigrette.
Poured them over some fresh salad leaves and baby tomatoes and sprinkle black mustard seeds on top.
I wish I could make it sound even slightly more complicated and fancy, but that's it. The genius is in the tahini and sesame oil, and the peanut butter...and the chilli sauce.
I'd NEVER thought of putting all those things together before! I suppose if necessity is the mother of invention then her little sister is an aversion to throwing leftover peanut butter away.