The best thing about the weather getting cooler is I have an excuse to munch on warming, filling comfort food! From soups, chillis and stews, to apple pie and hot chocolate. But when you are looking for something a bit quicker to prepare, which doesn’t need lots of ingredients, you really can’t beat a warm and spicy dal.
The best thing about Dal is you don’t need to be much of a whizz in the kitchen to get a great meal; and over time you can experiment with flavors and consistencies to get your ultimate recipe! I’ve been treating myself to this garlic, chilli and fennel dal a lot recently, and serving it with home made chapatti for a nice change from rice.
Fennel, Garlic and Chilli Dal and Chapatti Recipe
For the chapatti
- 225g wholemeal plain flour
- 125ml warm water
For the Dal
- 1/2 cup of split yellow lentils
- 11/2 cups of water
- ½ tsp. of turmeric
- 2 garlic gloves
- 1 tsp. of fennel seeds
- 1 fresh chilli, finely sliced (1 tsp. chilli flakes are good too)
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. mustard seeds
For the Dal
1. Rinse the lentils thoroughly in a sieve, before soaking in a bowl of water for about an hour.
2. Drain water and rinse again. Gently simmer the lentils in the 1 ½ cups of water; every now and then skimming off any white froth with a spoon. As the lentils start to thicken, add the turmeric. (you might want to make a start on the chapattis around this time)
3. Once the Dal is cooked thoroughly and at your chosen consistency (add more water for a thinner dal) heat a small pan with a tbsp. of oil and add your spices and garlic. Simmer for a few minutes to temper the spices, before adding to the dal mix and stirring.
For the Chapatti
1. Set aside 100g of the flour for shaping the chapattis later.
2. Add the water to the remaining flour, a little at a time; kneading as you go, until you have a soft, elastic dough. I used a spoon as first to stop it sticking to my hand before it was all combined! Knead for about 10-15 minutes, the longest the better for soft chapattis.
3. Sprinkle a little of the reserved flour onto a flat surface or board.
4. Divide the dough into four and shape into balls. Flatten the balls slightly, and one by one roll it out into flat discs, flouring when necessary.
5. Heat a shallow frying pan with a little oil. Gently lay the chapatti on and cook for about 30 seconds each side. As soon as brown spots appear, it’s ready!
6. Repeat with the other seven balls, using the remaining flour to roll them out. Stack them up as they are cooked, placing a sheet of kitchen towel between each one to absorb any moisture.
7. Eat dal and chapatti while still hot, no need for rice! You can also use any leftover chapatti and sandwich style wraps for other lunches 🙂