Chana dahl with spinach and French beans

This has become one of my favourite dishes and staples, I used to really dislike Indian food and was really pleased when I found that not all their food was heavily spiced.

200g chana dahl
150g fresh washed spinach
a good handful of French beans
1 tbsp sunflower oil (or other veg oil)
1 tbsp vegan margarine
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tomato
1 onion
2 to 4 cloves of garlic depending on taste
a piece of ginger the size of the tip of your thumb (ha! now, that’s a mouthful)
lots of coriander

The dry spices I used are:
(roughly 1/2 tsp of each of these, but you can add more if you like more of a kick. i like mine very mild as i have a sensitive stomach)
hing (asafoetida)
mild madras
cumin seeds
mustard seeds

1. the first thing I did was soak the chana dahl for about half an hour
2. then it was rinsed well and put in a large saucepan, cover them with filtered water and add the bicarbonate of soda and watch for spillages as the bicarbonate of soda will make boiling water foam lots. this will make them cook a lot faster and soften them up very well (I use this trick when I do chickpeas for hummus, although they need to soak longer)
3. boil until almost tender, drain and rinse quickly with warm water
4. then chop up the onion, garlic, ginger and sauté them in the oil
5. once the liquid has almost completely disapperead, add salt, dry spices and let them sauté for another while
6. add the chana dal to the mix, runner beans and tomatoes
7. cover with just enough water so all ingredients are submerged (do not use too much or your dal will turn out too watery)
8. bring to a boil and simmer for 5 mins
9. add your spinach and stir
10. then add the coriander, lemon juice and vegan margarine
11. cook for a further 5 minutes to give time to the other veg to soften up
12. serve with warm wholemeal pita bread and basmati rice


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