Dhall can seem like a strange choice for breakfast, but some mornings I want something warm and filling that will keep me going till lunch time, but I don’t feel like oats. This is a simple version with not too many ingredients to strain the before breakfast brain, but enough flavours to be interesting. Dhall is surprisingly fast and easy – less than 20 minutes from scratch.
The inspiration is turmeric growing in the garden. Turmeric is really hardy and prolific in my sub-tropical climate. The deep orange roots are a super-super-food – a really good source of anti-inflamatory anti-oxidants, and there are several other ingredients on the super-foods list as well. It is great if you are feeling a bit under the weather or as if your body needs a treat. And the lentils make it a good recipe for low GI, slow release carbohydrates for a day when you need stamina.
This makes one large bowl for a single hungry person, or a couple of smaller bowls.
Put a couple of cups of water on to boil and a heavy pan on to heat up. Into a food processor, put a thumb-sized piece of fresh turmeric (or a teaspoon of dried powder if you can’t get fresh) and a similar amount of fresh ginger and peeled garlic. Add one or two chilis, depending on how hot they are and how hot you like your dhall, and a teaspoon of cummin seeds and one of cracked coriander seeds, or, if you don’t have them, a smaller amount of dried coriander powder. Whizz it with a bit of olive oil to make a paste. (Or, you can use a mortar and pestle to grind the lot together).
Chop an onion and saute it with the spice mix, stirring to keep it from sticking. Add a cup of red lentils and a chopped tomato, and cover with boiling water. You will need to keep stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking and topping up the water until the lentils collapse and the dhall reaches a porridge-like consistency. Add salt to taste and serve in a bowl with a good dollop of plain low fat yoghurt and fresh chopped mint to garnish.