There are hundreds of different regional variations of dhal. I use coconut milk in mine, so it’s similar to a Sri Lankan version. Dhal can be made with a variety of pulses, not just lentils, so I’ve added split peas as they give a beautiful creamy result. Serve as is or as a side to a curry banquet.
Essentially this is a dhal, but I’ve put my own stamp on it by bulking it out with cauliflower. You can use this as a base for other vegetables, too. I love to add leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, or zucchini and broccoli. Make it your own and take the opportunity to use up any veggies in the crisper so they don’t go to waste.
- 200 g (1 cup) yellow split peas
- 1 onion, chopped
- salt flakes
- ½ head cauliflower (350–400 g), cut into small florets
- 270 ml canned coconut milk, plus extra to serve, if desired
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1½ tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 small green chilli, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp crispy fried shallots
- Small handful of mint leaves
- Naan, roti or steamed rice, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Place the split peas and onion in a large saucepan and cover with 1.5 litres of water. Add a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil, skimming off the impurities that rise to the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cauliflower and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes until the split peas are tender. Stir in the coconut milk and cook for 2 minutes until the curry has thickened.
2. Heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and add the turmeric, cumin seeds and most of the chilli. Cook for a few seconds until fragrant, then tip into the curry. Fold through, then check the seasoning and remove the curry from the heat. Scatter on the fried shallots, mint leaves and reserved chilli and serve drizzled with a little extra coconut milk, if you like.
Recipe from The Weeknight Cookbook by Justine Schofield (Plum, $34.99), Photography by Jeremy Simons.