Dhal is my favourite part of any Indian meal. Sometimes written ‘dal’, it is a staple of Indian cooking, ranging from soupy to quite thick and made from any of a wide range of split dried beans, peas or lentils. I use red (masoor) or yellow (moong/mung) lentils most often, as they don’t need soaking so are quick to prepare. I’ve kept my recipe simple, so use it as a guide for your own version; ginger and chilli powder are often included, as is a pinch of asafoetida (an Indian spice that aids digestion). Dhal palak is dhal with spinach (‘palak’ in Hindi), you can add diced tomato instead of, or as well as, the spinach. Serve it with chicken, seafood or meat, or alone for a delicious vegetarian meal. Leftover dhal keeps refrigerated for days and freezes well. Add any Indian condiments you like, my favourites are mango chutney, lime pickle and plenty of thick natural yoghurt (like the sheep milk one from Meredith Dairy). Spices can be a challenge for some wines, but I find Stefano Lubiana’s pale pink, textured pinot gris works a treat.
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