black dal with crispy turmeric cauliflower and limey coconut chuntney

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Dal is just the best thing ever. It's cheap, it's filling, it's nutritious and it's delicious. There's something that feels really comforting and grounding about making (and eating) it and it's perfect for batching up and freezing in portions.

This is a real crowd pleaser, the dal is rich and comforting and the coconut chutney which was adapted from an Anna Jones recipe adds some amazing texture and really elevates it from a humble dish to something that feels (and tastes) really special.


Makes 6 portions

Two cups black lentils (it's actually not the easiest to find this in shops - I ordered online)

Soaked over night reduces the cooking time here and also removes a lot of the phytic acid which are anti-nutrients found in a lot of plant based foods like legumes which can inhibit the absorption of minerals in the gut and also can make them harder for some people to digest

For the dal:

2 cans coconut milk

3 shallots 

4 cloves of garlic 

big thumb of ginger

2 cans tinned chopped tomato

1/2 tablespoon ground coriander seeds

1/2 tablespoons ground cumin seeds

1/2 tablespoons ground mustard seeds

2 teaspoons ground cinamon

1/2 tablespoon ground fenugreek seeds

1 tablespoon dried turmeric

1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika

1/2 tablespoon garam masala

stalks of a bunch of coriander (1 tbl spoon worth)

1 pint of veggie stock

1 tablespoon garam masala

coconut oil for frying

For the crispy cauliflower

1 head cauliflower

1 table spoon ground coriander and cumin seeds (mixed together)

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

pinch of salt

For the chutney

4 tablespoons unsweetened desiccated coconut

2 chillis finely chopped and deseeded

4 tablespoons of coriander leaves and stalks (finely chopped)

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

juice and zest of 1 lime

1 tablespoon dried curry leaves

1/2 tablespoon black mustard seeds

1 thumb of fresh ginger (peeled and grated)


Fry the shallots, garlic, ginger in the coconut oil until soft and add the spices and coriander stalks and fry for a further 5 mins be careful not to burn and adding a little water if it starts to stick. Preheat the oven to 200 ready for the cauliflower.

Once golden add the tomatoes, coconut milk, stock and lentils and simmer with a lid on the pan- make sure you stir regularly until the lentils are tender and cooked and the liquid has reduced down. It should be a thick porridge like texture. Black lentils are split so they don’t bleed into each other like red or yellow lentils. If you have a slow cooker you can put all the ingredients in it in the morning.

While the dal is cooking - cut the cauliflower into florettes and place in a bowl with the spices and oil and mix until evenly coated. Place in the oven and cook for around 40 minutes or until the cauli is tender and nice and golden and crispy.

Place all the ingredients for the chutney in a bowl and mix well

Serve the dal with the cauli and chutney on top and enjoy!!

emily barker