Last Night’s Dinner: Dhal with coconut cabbage

Wednesday 4 May

Feeling rather strapped for cash, I decided to see what I could rustle up without spending a single extra penny at the shop. So, there was a bag of yellow split peas in the cupboard, a couple of onions lying around, a tin of coconut milk and half a white cabbage that was almost on its way out. Plus spices. What to do? Indian of course.

We love a dhal at ETP Towers and they’re so easy. I made this after soaking the split peas for a few hours first. Then… chop an onion and fry in sunflower oil for 5 minutes. Rinse then add the split peas, plus 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp turmeric and some chilli powder (to your liking). Cover with boiling water – about an inch or so above the top of the split peas and simmer for about 45 minutes until the split peas are thoroughly soft and the consitency is that of a thick sauce. Then stir in a little tamarind paste and a couple of squirts of tomato puree. Chop three cloves of garlic, place it in a metal ladle with a small amount of sunflower oil and heat over the flame of a hob until it turns golden. Stir it into the dhal mix.

For the cabbage, slice an onion and half a white (or green, for that matter) cabbage and stir-fry both for a few minutes in a wok with some grated ginger, mustard seeds and a green chilli. Then add a tin of coconut milk and simmer until the cabbage softens and the milk has mostly evaporated.

Easy. And cheap.

By the way, there’s not much I could do with the photos of this. It’s not stylish food but it’s tasty and nutritious. I feel a mini-feature about food photography and its perils may be in order soon. Watch this space…

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5 Comments to “Last Night’s Dinner: Dhal with coconut cabbage”

  1. What is the green stuff on the cabbage photo, I don’t seems to find any greenery on the recipe…

    • Ooh, good point – I do hate it when recipes miss things out. That’s a little sprinkling of chopped coriander leaf as a garnish. It’s not really essential, but (and see my point about the photography) it served to perk up the picture a bit.

  2. Thank you, it seemed like coriander, but i did not want to speculate. Also, how did you salt it? Salt, soy….? It looks really good. Thank you for your blog, it will give me many ideas for the future. I also take a lot of photos of food I have made. I am a food photographer among many other things, and I appreciate your photos. Thank you very much.

    • Hi Julio, We usually only use soy when a recipe specifically demands it. Usually a pinch of salt is the most we’d add to a recipe (trying to keep sodium levels to a minimum). Where we use a lot of spicing we often do without salt altogether – tasting first and only adding salt if we think it could do with some. We use Maldon sea salt (or equivalent) rather than the more heavily processed table salts. However, with the cabbage I don’t think we added any salt at all, trusting that the cabbage and the mustard seeds would provide the requisite savouriness. Hope that helps.

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