India produces some of the best vegetarian recipes in the world. From onion bhajis and vegetable samoosas to saag paneer and vegetable korma.
When you have such intense flavours, meat often seems a bit redundant. One of the most popular staples of Indian cuisine is dhal (often spelt dal or dahl).
Dhal is one universal Indian dish that transcends cultures, races, and genders, old and young, and is served in restaurants across the world.
The reason? It has a universal taste: not spicy, vegetarian, mild, or kid-friendly, and can be the main dish or side dish, ideally eaten with roti, naan (flatbread), poppadoms, humble plain rice or the fit-for-royalty breyani rice.
Dahl is pretty easy to make and you can make various variations to suit your taste. This dish is also rich in micro- and macronutrients such as carbohydrates and protein, so it nourishes your body perfectly.
The ingredients are inexpensive and simple. Courtesy of the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association, below is a quick and easy tomato and mushroom dhal recipe that you can add to your quick weeknight menu.
Tomato and mushroom dhal
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
15ml fresh ginger, finely grated
15ml curry paste
400g portabellini mushrooms, halved
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tins brown lentils, drained
45ml plain yoghurt or thick cream
30ml fresh coriander, chopped
To serve (optional)
Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion and garlic for 5–7 minutes.
Add the ginger, curry paste, and mushrooms and cook for 3–4 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes and lentils and simmer for 5 minutes.
Top with yoghurt or cream and coriander.
Serve with rice or naan bread, raita and/or toasted coconut.