Yellow Split Pea Dal with Fenugreek

This is one of those meals that doesn’t last very long in our house. When there’s zero conversation at the dinner table because everyone is so busy enjoying their food and scraping their bowls clean. If you’ve read our blog before you probably know that dal is one of our favourite things to cook, especially during this time of year when our bodies crave the warmth of spices. We normally have a couple dals on rotation (like a Yellow Dal with Curry Leaves or Mung Bean Dal ), but right now this yellow split pea version has been the household favourite.

Yellow Split Pea Dal with Fenugreek

The combination of flavours and texture of this dal is so delicious and comforting. We mash up the split peas after cooking, which creates such a creamy consistency. Fenugreek is one of our favourite spices - used correctly it has a somewhat bitter sweet, aromatic taste, which pairs really well with the other spices & coconut milk. Also, we add a tarka (tadka) at the end to add an extra burst of flavour. For those who don’t know, tarka is the tempering of ingredients such as whole or ground spices, tomatoes, onions, garlic etc in oil, added at the end of the cooking process.

Not only do the yellow split peas have such a tasty flavour, but they’re also really nutritious! They’re very high in fibre, which is essential for healthy digestion, and makes us feel more satisfied after a meal. They’re also rich in vitamins like B1, B5, folate, zinc, potassium and magnesium. We recommend buying organic legumes/lentils whenever it’s available to you & thoroughly rinse your peas before cooking.

Yellow split pea dal with fenugreek
Yellow split pea dal with fenugreek
Yellow split pea dal with fenugreek
Yellow split pea dal with fenugreek
Yellow split pea dal with fenugreek
Yellow split pea dal with fenugreek

for the dal:
2 cups dried yellow split peas
5.5 cups water
2 medium sized onions, chopped finely
1 can coconut milk, refrigerated so that fat separates from water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1.5 teaspoons mustard seeds
1.5 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
2-5 dried kashmiri chili, seeds removed (optional)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons curry powder (we use an aromatic store-bought one for this recipe)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/3 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
Small bunch of fresh coriander (optional)
Dry fenugreek leaves (optional)

for the tarka (final tempering):
1.5 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
1.5 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tablespoons coconut oil

1. Rinse and drain the split peas 3-4 times in cold water.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add the chillies, mustard and fenugreek seeds and stir fry for 30 seconds.
3. Add the finely chopped onions and cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes until they are a nice dark gold colour, keep stirring. You can add a little more coconut oil if necessary.
4. Add a tablespoon of water to cool the pan, then add the curry powder, turmeric, paprika, asafoetida and black pepper. cook for 30 seconds.
5. Add the drained split peas and 5.5 cups of water, mix well and bring the the boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are completely soft (45-60 mins), add a little more water while cooking if you need to.
6. When the lentils are well cooked, turn off the heat and mash them a little with a spoon. You should have quite a thick consistency at this point.
7. Make the tarka. Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a small frying pan and then fry all the ingredients for the tarka on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic, it should be a light gold colour. Add this mixture to the pan with the lentils and mix well to combine.
8. Finally add all of the cream from the can of coconut milk and about half of the coconut water. Mix well. If you want to you can add all of the coconut water but we generally prefer this dal on the thicker side. It may depend on the consistency you had already or how you like your lentils! If not, keep the rest in the fridge for a smoothie!
9. Finish with chopped coriander and a couple of pinches of dried fenugreek leaves (if you have them) and enjoy with rice or chapattis. We love ours with these Millet Flatbreads .

What’s your favourite type of dal?
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Kidney Bean and Coconut Curry

I have fond memories of our time in India a few years back, sitting in little huts half way up mountains eating kidney bean curry (rajma). Despite being absolutely delicious, they did come with a slight risk, as Gabriella discovered when she picked a metal screw out of her meal half through eating it. Apparently it had fallen from the ceiling into the big pot. Not so nice! We decided against including screws in our recipe... 

This recipe uses garam masala, and as mentioned before it does taste so much better if your spice mixes are home made and freshly ground. Having said that, we don't always have time for that! So if you're using a shop bought mix that's maybe been in your cupboard a few weeks, just double the quantity.

kidney bean curry.jpg

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

350g dried kidney beans
1 tin of coconut milk (or 350ml home made)
2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 large onions thinly sliced
2-3 inches fresh ginger root
1tsp garam masala (2 tsp shop bought)
1tsp sweet paprika
3-4 kashmiri dried chillis (substitute with 1 tsp red chilli flakes)
Large handful fresh coriander
1 lemon or 2 small limes

1. Soak the kidney beans in plenty of water overnight, the next day rinse and drain thoroughly.

2. In a large pot cover the beans by about an inch of water and cook for 1.5-2.5 hours until completely soft and liquid is beginning to thicken. The cooking time will vary depending on your beans and you may need to add a little more water as you go.

3. In another large pan heat the coconut oil and fry the onions on a medium-low heat for around 15-20 minutes, until soft and caramelised.

4. To the onions add the ginger, garam masala and paprika to the onions with a tiny splash of water and cook for about a minute. 

5. Using a slotted spoon transfer the beans into the pan with the onions and enough of the cooking water to just cover the beans. If you add too much you will end up with a more watery curry. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and meanwhile mash the beans with a wooden spoon to thicken the sauce. alternatively you can use an immersion blender and just give it a couple of small whizzes, but you want to leave plenty of whole beans for texture.

6. Add the coconut milk, stir well and turn off the heat.

7. Finish with plenty of chopped fresh coriander and the juice of 1 lemon or 2 small limes.

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Vegan Turmeric Butter

This turmeric butter is like sunshine goodness in a jar. We've both noticed that eating more plant based fats gives us a lot much more energy throughout the day. This butter is really satisfying and full of healthy fats from good quality, organic oils. It's delicious spread on sourdough toast and crackers or added to a risotto.  It only takes a few minutes to make so it's easy to whip up a jar for the week!

Turmeric is one of our favourite spices and had to be included to give the butter such a vibrant yellow colour. It's also a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, due to the curcumin that it contains. Combining turmeric with black pepper helps our bodies absorb the curcumin, so make sure to be generous with the black pepper! 

turmeric butter
vegan turmeric butter
turmeric butter
turmeric vegan butter

Ingredients (makes 1 medium jar)
1 cup of coconut oil (we use an unscented version for this recipe, but you could use a normal one)
5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1. Firstly, make sure your coconut oil is solid (see photo above). The recipe won't work as well if your coconut oil is in liquid form. If you live somewhere hot, put the oil in the fridge before making the recipe and then store the finished butter in the fridge after.
2. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mash together with a fork. (You could use a food processor if you're short for time). Mix until smooth and there's no lumps. 
3. Transfer into a jar and enjoy! 

turmeric vegan butter

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Potatoes with Curry Leaves and Turmeric

Sometimes life and rainy days call for a delicious plate of crispy potatoes. Us being us, we wanted to put our own twist on the classic roast potato and give them a little indian and somewhat healthier twist! If potatoes could be life changing, then these guys definitely would be. But either way, this is such a good side dish to have with curry or dal,  especially our mung bean dal which you can find the recipe for here

Turmeric and curry leaf potatoes
Turmeric and curry leaf potatoes

We've talked about our love for fresh curry leaves on the blog before, and these really transform the potatoes in this dish. They add such an aromatic flavour and become amazingly crispy in the oven. There's so many healthy benefits to these incredible leaves too, including benefiting the liver, helping with digestion issues and being full of antioxidants too. As we've mentioned before, you can find these in many indian and asian supermarkets. 

We also added the ever popular turmeric to the mix to add flavour, colour and healing properties. Turmeric is one of our favourite spices and is amazing for fighting inflammation and preventing illness. I like to think of it as the sunshine spice - it brings such a beautiful colour to our food!

Over to the potatoes.....

Ingredients (serves 6 as a side dish)
1kg of potatoes
Roughly 50 fresh curry leaves (a small handful)
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder or 1 tablespoon of grated fresh turmeric root
a generous pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil  (or other oil of choice)

1.Parboil the potatoes for approx 8-10 minutes in boiling water. Allow to cool before cutting. 
2. Once cool, cut into 1/2 inch slices and combine in a large baking tray with all the other ingredients. Make sure the oil and turmeric is well spread between the potatoes. 
3. Bake on gas mark 6 for around 1 hour or until the potatoes are golden and crispy. 
4. Allow to cool before eating and enjoy! Don't forget to eat the crispy curry leaves... these are our favourite bit of all! 


What's your favourite way to use turmeric?
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