Karen’s Cauliflower and Spinach Dhal

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Karen's Cauliflower and Spinach Dhal

This is a very simple & highly nutritious recipe for an Indian-inspired Dhal (Dal) dish. It should be served with some sort of warm bread (such as Chapati Bread – although if you don’t have Chapati then any similar flat bread would suffice – I’ve often served it up with warm Pita Bread, lightly topped with a home-made garlic butter, which is also very nice :-).

This recipe will keep for at least few days if stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, but if frozen it will keep for quite some months without any loss in taste or quality – so it’s ideal for busy people or families with hungry teenagers (and it is also a good idea to freeze it in single-sized serves…..).

You can easily change the various quantities or ingredients to suit your own taste, ( if you don’t like Garlic then reduce the amount perhaps, but don’t remove it altogether – once cooked it tends to not be very noticeable in this recipe, and it just adds a bit of flavor & depth to the Dhal).

This dish is excellent for a healthy snack, supper, or for anytime really – and it is exceptionally good for vegetarian teenagers, especially girls, because of the high amounts of iron due to the lentils & the spinach in it. You could also serve it topped with some grated cheese, or chopped fresh chillies, or a number of things. This dish is a personal favorite of one meat-eating friend of mine, who tends to devour double-serves of it whenever he can get his chubby little hands on it… so it is not only for vegetarians –  please try it, & I hope you enjoy.

 

Ingredients:

  • Massel Stock Cubes & Stock Powder

    Massel Stock Cubes & Stock Powder

    500g Yellow Split Peas (Yellow Lentils)

  • 1-to-2 Large Brown Onions, hand chopped & diced into small pieces (do NOT use a food-processor* see bottom of page)
  • 2-to-4+ Cloves of Garlic, hand chopped very finely (OR pressed using a Garlic Press is also okay)
  • 1/2 medium sized FRESH Cauliflower, washed & cut into small pieces  (I wouldn’t recommend using frozen cauliflower for this recipe, it would not hold it’s shape very well either…)
  • 2 Cups of Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves, washed & either left whole or cut into strips / pieces (OR you can use frozen chopped spinach to save time etc – about 125 grams should suffice, and for this particular recipe it’s an adequate substitute for fresh).
  • 8-to-12 New Baby Potatoes, washed & chopped into pieces (if very small they can be halved, if larger then perhaps cut them into quarters. You can also use old large potatoes if that’s all you have available – just peel & then cut them into med-small squares).
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Cumin Seeds
  • 1/3 -to- 1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Coriander (OR use 1/2 – to- 1 whole teaspoon of dried Coriander Powder  – change quantities according to taste)
  • Saffron (either:  one strand of real saffron, or about 1/8 teaspoon of artificial saffron powder)
  • 1 teaspoon approx. of Turmeric Powder
  • 4 Massel Vegetable Stock Cubes (or an equivalent – I’ve used Massel for many years & I really love it, but it may not be available in all countries so if you can’t get Massel then just use any good quality vegetable stock cubes, preferably without any additives or preservatives – same goes for the stock-power listed below. BTW, we are not affiliated with Massel, and it really is a good product). Also, if using a low-salt version you may need to add more salt to the Dhal before serving, as this is one dish which really does need salt to bring out the flavour.
  • 1-to-2 TABLESPOONS of Massel Vegetable Stock Powder (or equivalent)
  • 1-to2 TABLESPOONS of Olive Oil
  • 2  and 1/2 Litres of Water

 

  • Salt to taste  (preferably freshly ground sea-salt)
  • Ground Black Pepper to taste (preferably freshly ground)
  • OPTIONAL: Garnish with Fresh Parsley, Coriander or even chopped red chillies before serving. (You can also add some chopped fresh red chillies to the Dhal during the cooking process, to create a spicier variation of this dish………)

 

Serve With:

  • Warm Chapatti Bread or a similar flat bread such as Pita Bread (you can serve it plain, however I would suggest you try this:  lightly brushed with garlic butter just before serving…… Also, I find that most people will each want at least 2 Chapattis or medium sized Pita Breads…..).

NOTE: You can either wrap the bread in foil & then place in a medium-low temperature oven for about 6-10 minutes OR you can cover them with a microwave cover & quickly heat them up one-by-one in the microwave, just before serving the Dhal – it’s up to you.

 

Instructions:

  1. Inspect the yellow lentils carefully to ensure that there are no pieces of grit or foreign objects (…..some better brands of lentils will probably not require this step, & are usually ready-to-use…).
  2. Place the yellow split-peas / lentils into a sieve & wash them very carefully until the water becomes clear, and not cloudy anymore (….NOTE: if you do not do this, then you might be sorry later – washing lentils thoroughly helps to reduce the well-known  “After-Effect” that can come from digesting lentils….)
  3. Wash & prepare the fresh vegetables.
  4. Heat up the Olive Oil in a very large saucepan.
  5. Add the onions and fry them over a med-hot heat until they are lightly caramelized (lightly  golden brown).
  6. Add the Garlic & stir for only about one minute, and then immediately add all the dried spices (…..if using fresh spices you might prefer to add them just before adding the liquid). Stir gently over the heat until combined.
  7. Add the potatoes, and stir gently for about 5-8 minutes, then add the Cauliflower.  Stir Gently, and add a little bit of Salt & Pepper UNLESS you are using a type of heavily salted stock cubes/stock powder (…..as you can always add more salt & pepper later if you needed more…. but some commercial  stock can be VERY salty & some will not need any salt added….).
  8. Add the yellow lentils & stir gently until they are coated in the oil & spices.
  9. Add the Stock Cubes & the Stock Powder. Stir gently.
  10. Add the water, and stir gently until mixed, then cover the saucepan.
  11. When the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat, add the FROZEN spinach, stir  and then simmer over a low heat for about 25-35 minutes. (If using FRESH spinach, you should instead fold it into the dhal once the dhal is cooked, then stir & leave to cool – by the time the dhal has cooled down the baby spinach will be cooked & soft to eat…..You may also find that the Dhal is beginning to dry out or is too thick  & needs more water once it has boiled – if so, add more water & turn up the heat until it again boils, then simmer & add the fresh baby spinach.)
  12. When the potatoes & cauliflower pieces in the Dhal are cooked enough & the potato pieces can be “squashed” when pressed with a spoon , the Dhal is ready to eat. Once cooked, leave the Dhal to cool (……it will usually be VERY hot for quite some time…. at least 10-15 minutes, unless you live in Siberia…). You might like to add some more salt & pepper to taste now, too.
  13. Whilst the Dhal is cooling down, prepare the bread.
  14. Serve the Dhal with the warm bread.
  15. OPTIONAL: Garnish with Fresh Parsley, Coriander or even chopped red chillies or Paprika before serving.
  16. Enjoy!

Serves: Makes up approximately 8-10 servings

* When you use a food-processor to chop up vegetables it often changes the taste & texture radically. Onions will turn into slush, and then they just won’t brown or fry up the same as when using hand-chopped. They also taste different (and Capsicums / Bell Peppers can become bitter). It might save you a few minutes to use a food processor, but it will ruin the meal & then you’ve wasted all that time, food & effort……

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