I've not cooked much of anything for the past month, mainly due to to the fact that Ryoma and I have both been ill, but I'm back in the kitchen now, along with my trusty sous chef... yay! Anyway, I thought it would be nice to try another Indian dish this evening, and I've opted for this one because it's coeliac friendly. My sister was diagnosed with coeliac disease last week (she also discovered that she's lactose intolerant), and she's had to give up a lot of the foods that she loves, so I'm going to do my best to seek out gluten-free recipes that will get her taste buds tingling.
This may look like a long list of ingredients, but most of them are spices, and the dhansak masala can be made and then stored, so you don't need to make a fresh batch every time you cook this meal. This is a moderately spicy dish, and it's delicious! This recipe will feed four hungry hippos, or six moderate nibblers.
Ingredients for the Dhansak Masala:
1½ tsp cumin seeds
1½ tsp coriander seeds
1½ tsp cardamom pods
½ tsp dried fenugreek seeds
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp garam masala
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 large potatoes, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
3½ oz (100 g) fresh peas
3½ oz (100 g) green beans, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) lengths
7 oz (200 g) split red lentils, washed
14 fl oz (400 ml) water, boiled
2 tbsp ground nut oil
1 large onions, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp dhansak masala (see ingredients above and cooking instructions)
small handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Begin by making the dhansak masala (alternatively, this can be made in advance). On a low heat, dry-roast the cardamon pods, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and fenugreek seeds in a small pan until they start to pop. Be careful not to burn them. Once they do pop, move them into a mortar, add the cloves and use a pestle to grind them to a fine powder, discarding the cardamon pods once the seeds have been released. Add the turmeric, chilli powder, ground black pepper, ground cinnamon, garam masala and nutmeg, then place the mixture in an airtight container. You can then, after using the amount you need for this recipe, store the remaining dhansak masala for future use.
Now you can move on to making the vegetable dhansak. Pop the potato, carrot, peas and green beans into a steamer and cook until tender. While the vegetables are cooking, pop the lentils into a saucepan, pour over the hot water and bring to the boil, then simmer for around 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the lentils are tender. Using a wooden spoon, mash the lentils until they form a smooth paste.
Heat the oil in a large pan or casserole, then fry the onion on a high heat until it is golden, which should take about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 2 minutes, then add the bay leaves and spices (ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and garam masala; see photo above). Give everything a good stir, then add the tomato purée and cook for around 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped tomato and mashed lentils, stir, then pour in enough water to form a thick soup-like consistency (see photo below).
Turn down the heat, add the potatoes and carrots, then cook on a low heat for 5 minutes. Throw in the peas and green beans and cook for 3-4 more minutes (see photo below).
Add the lemon juice and dhansak masala and cook for 5 more minutes. Finally, remove the bay leaves, add the chopped coriander leaves and then serve with some basmati rice.