Cookbook Challenge 2011: Fortnight 12, Spice

Posted on | June 19, 2011 | 32 Comments

Theme: Spice
Recipe: Spiced red lentils with cucumber yoghurt
From: Ottolenghi’s Plenty

Do you ever have those instances when you have a very firm idea of a dish in your head? You know the ingredients you want, you know what the texture should be like, and you know what it should taste like. It sends you off to find a recipe to try and create it, hoping that it will meet your expectations.

The theme for this fortnight’s Cookbook Challenge is “spice” and I knew immediately that I wanted to make dal. And I *knew* what this dal was going to be like. I could see it, I knew the texture, and I could almost taste it.

I flicked through several cookbooks trying to find a recipe that looked like it would create the dal I wanted. I wanted something packed with flavour and spices, with thick and creamy lentils. If I made something thin and insipid, I knew I was not going to be happy.

Eventually, I came across a recipe for spiced red lentils in Ottolenghi’s Plenty, which basically looked like a dal. I crossed my fingers and started soaking the lentils.

Perhaps if I had cooked more from this cookbook I would have realised… there was no point in worrying. Because it was the best damn dal I’ve EVER made and it was exactly what I saw in my head. So I say to you: MAKE THIS. Yes, it’s a long list of ingredients and it looks complicated. But I assure you – it’s not that hard, and it’s worth it. And since I’m already being all bossy and commanding, I have another demand: don’t be tempted to skip the butter at the end. It looks like a lot (okay, it kind of is a lot) but it makes the dal all buttery and generally awesome.

I was so happy. The lentils were thick and creamy like I wanted, and because I had increased the amount of chilli, there was a bit of a kick along with all the flavours from the spices. I didn’t make the cucumber yoghurt, and personally I don’t think it needs it because the lentils were delicious on their own. I can see myself making this a lot. So I say to you again: MAKE THIS.

Read past Cookbook Challenge posts or see what everyone else made at the Cookbook Challenge forum.

Spiced red lentils with cucumber yoghurt

From Ottolenghi’s Plenty

Serves 2-4

200g split red letils
350ml water
50g bunch of coriander
1 small onion, peeled
40g peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 fresh chillies (more or less to taste)
1 & 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
10 curry leaves
300g peeled chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek (optional)
Pinch of asafoetida (optional)
70g unsalted butter
1 & 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

For the yoghurt:
150g Greek yoghurt
75g cucumber, finely diced
1 & 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Wash the lentils really well in cold running water, then soak in the 350ml of water. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Give the bunch of coriander a really good wash, then cut halfway up the stalk to separate the leaves from the roots. Chop up the leaves roughly, then set aside. Place the root end into a food processor with the onion, ginger and chilli and pulse to chop everything up. You want it roughly chopped into smallish pieces, but not a paste.

Heat a heavy-based pot on medium heat, and put the mustard seeds inside. When they start to pop, add the onion mixture and the oil. Cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika and curry leaves. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the lentils, the soaking water, tomatoes, sugar, fenugreek and asafoetida and salt. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are fully cooked.

Stir in the butter, lime juice and chopped coriander leaves. Taste and season with salt, then serve with the cucumber yoghurt (if desired).

To make the yoghurt, whisk together the yoghurt, cucumber, olive oil and salt.

Comments

32 Responses to “Cookbook Challenge 2011: Fortnight 12, Spice”

  1. Iron Chef Shellie
    June 19th, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

    So good to find the exact recipe when you are getting vibes like that!

    Looks deeeelicious :)

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    I know – it’s such a good feeling to find the perfect recipe. :D

    [Reply]

  2. Queenotisblue
    June 19th, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

    Yes, I will make this! ;)

    I totally agree with your assessment of his recipes – they seem complicated because of all the ingredients however, they work. And they’re always so damn delicious!

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    YAY! I’m glad someone is going to obey my bossiness :)

    [Reply]

  3. leaf @ theindolentcook
    June 20th, 2011 @ 12:55 am

    The long list of ingredients does scare me a little – but I do love spice and it does sound really, really delicious!

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    I promise that it’s fantastic and worth amassing the ingredients to make :)

    [Reply]

  4. Leigh
    June 20th, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    Love the gorgeous colour!!!

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Thanks Leigh! :)

    [Reply]

  5. Hannah
    June 20th, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

    Teehee, I’ve always kinda secretly known that the reason the dal at one particular restaurant in Canberra is so amazing would be a generous helping of butter at the end. And now you’ve just gone and confirmed it for me… ah well. Butter in dal is surely better for my lactardation than cheesecake for dinner. ;)

    P.S. This really does look magnificent. I’m on your side – creamy not soupy/insipid dal all the way!

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Have you made it yet?? Have you, have you, have you?? ;)

    [Reply]

  6. Kulsum at JourneyKitchen
    June 20th, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

    Love the pictures. I sometimes spread dals of this consistency of a toasted bread and use it as spread

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Thanks! And that’s a great idea to use it as a spread

    [Reply]

  7. Adrian (Food Rehab)
    June 20th, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

    Yes madam- I shall make this on the pronto. Good for the cold as well with all its spiciness.

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Good work, go forth and make it. ;)

    [Reply]

  8. msihua
    June 20th, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

    So that’s why you want to cook from Ottolenghi! You’ve already mastered one of the dishes!! YUmMmm

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Noooo I want to cook from Ottolenghi because it’s a good book (and yes maybe, because I’ve mastered one of the dishes…)

    [Reply]

  9. Susan
    June 22nd, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

    I have made a couple of recipes from that book and they are very tasty indeed. That looks like a great dish too, will have to make that!

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Woot, another Ottolenghi fan :D Hope you try the recipe – it’s awesome!

    [Reply]

  10. Hannah@ Bake Five!
    June 23rd, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    Absolutely, absolutely love the colors.

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Thanks! :D

    [Reply]

  11. Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi
    June 24th, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

    The promise of spicy goodness (not to mention the buttery finish) is drawing me in! I won’t be skipping over the cucumber yoghurt though — I’m a big fan of the contrasting coolness of yoghurt to warm spices. Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    I will have to try it with the yoghurt next time :)

    [Reply]

  12. Gourmetgetaways
    June 24th, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

    Yum, I love dahl, especially a good flavoursome Dahl.

    It is worth going to the trouble of putting all the spices in yourself, and I would have added a little extra chili too ;)

    All your delicious images are making me hungry :)

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    I love chilli – add it to almost everything so it was a given that I would need to add more to this dish ;)

    [Reply]

  13. Annette
    June 25th, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

    This does look good! Terry loves dahl so we’ll see if we can get all the ingredients together and make this. Love the colourful photos as well.

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Hope you’ve managed to make it! It’s delicious :)

    [Reply]

  14. Eftychia
    July 3rd, 2011 @ 4:13 am

    Delicious recipe! Thanks for sharing.

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Thanks for the visit and comment :)

    [Reply]

  15. Johanna GGG
    July 3rd, 2011 @ 11:43 pm

    this looks absolutely delicious – not sure I can do the butter but I can sure do those spices and I have fresh curry leaves in the fridge – already have bookmarked this

    as for dahl, I used to this there was only one way but the more I have looked around at dahl recipes the more I begin to see it as diverse as curries so it is always good to find a great dahl recipe because no all dahls are equal

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    I’m always on the look out for good dal recipes – they’re definitely as diverse as curries :)

    [Reply]

  16. Kat (Spatula, Spoon and Saturday)
    July 19th, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    I am so getting this book!

    [Reply]

    Agnes Reply:

    Yes, you should! It’s a good book :)

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply





CommentLuv badge

  • Nuffnang

    • follow me on Twitter
    • Categories