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Lemon, tomato & cardamom dhal



  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped (de-seeded if you like)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Seeds from 6 cardamom pods, ground
  • 200 grams dried split red lentils, washed
  • 1 x 400 millilitres tin coconut milk
  • 500 millilitres vegetable stock
  • 100 grams baby spinach, washed
  • 4 ripe vine tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 16 fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)


  • 100 grams toasted cashew nuts
  • 1 green chilli (de-seeded if you like)
  • 1/2 un-waxed lemon
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • Warm rotis or chapatis


1. Heat the coconut oil in a deep saucepan and fry the onions over a medium heat with a pinch of salt for 5  minutes, stirring regularly  until they start to soften . Add the chillies and cook for another couple of minutes until everything in the pan is soft and fragrant. Add the cumin, coriander  and mustard seeds  and when the  mustard  seeds start to pop, stir in the ground turmeric and cardamom.

2. Quickly add the lentils, coconut milk and stock to the pan. Bring the dhal to the boil, then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the lentils have softened and are cooked through.

3. Now make your herb and cashew topping. Roughly chop the cashews and green chilli as well as the whole lemon half, discarding any pips, then add the coriander and chop the lot together with a good pinch of  salt to make a rough lemon salsa .

4. Back to the dhal: stir through the spinach and the chopped tomatoes so the  spinach wilts a litt le, then taste it and add the juice of up to 2 lemons, depending on your preference . Add salt and pepper to t aste .

5. If you are using the curry leaves, melt about a teaspoon of coconut oil in a frying pan and when the surface is shimmering, fry the leaves for about 15 seconds to crisp up.

6. Spoon the dhal into bowls, top with the curry leaves and cashews and serve with rice or warm roti breads.

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