Wednesday, 6 February 2013

5:2: Quick red lentil and carrot dal

After 24 hours of eating pure protein* I was gagging for something veggie tonight and hit on the notion of trying to make a low calorie version of my favourite dal. I found a couple of packs of pre-prepared veg in the local Tesco (don't hate me) and that clinched it.

I'll probably tweak it a bit. The carrot made it a little on the sweet side so you could cut it down or up the lentils slightly although that will obviously make it more calorific. On the other hand if you just chopped up a carrot and some swede it might clock up fewer calories - I found the bag I'd bought had some potato in it.

Normally I use a fair bit of oil to fry the onion and spices so they weren't quite as enticingly crispy as usual. But it's not bad. Not bad at all. Particularly for a cold February night.

Serves 2-3 (500 calories total so about 200-250 cals per portion)

1 large onion (150g) (47 cals)
200g mixed carrot and swede, cubed (82 cals)
80g red lentils (265 cals)
5g chunk of fresh ginger, grated (2 cals)
1/2 level tsp turmeric or a little more if you're into turmeric. It is very healthy (4 cals)
750ml light vegetable stock made with 2 tsp Marigold vegetable bouillon powder (24 cals)
50g sliced cabbage or raw spinach leaves (16 cals)
about 5g chopped fresh coriander (2 cals)
1 tsp cumin seeds (8 cals)
1 tsp coriander seeds (5 cals)
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp coarse salt plus a little extra salt to taste
1 tsp oil (40 cals)
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely sliced (2 cals)

Halve the onion, chop half of it roughly and set the rest aside. Put the chopped onion, carrot and swede in a saucepan with the red lentils, ginger and turmeric. Pour over the stock, bring slowly to the boil, skim off any froth then simmer for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are soft, adding a little extra water if you need it. Take off the heat and mash roughly, just to break the veg down a bit.

Blanch the cabbage briefly in boiling water. (If you're using spinach you don't need to do this.) Drain and add to the lentils along with most of the chopped coriander leaving a little for garnish.

Thinly slice the remaining onion. Grind together the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, chilli flakes and coarse salt with a pestle and mortar.

Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan and add the sliced garlic and onion. Cook over a moderate heat for 2-3 minutes then add the roughly ground spices. Continue to fry over a low heat for another couple of minutes taking care not to scorch the spices.

Serve the lentils and cabbage topped with the spicy onions and a few extra coriander leaves.

If you can't be bothered faffing around with whole spices you could always add some diluted curry paste to the dal as I did with the Spicy 5 Vegetable Stew I made recently.

*I was at a scallop dinner last night. Then ate scrambled eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast today.


Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Perfect winter-warming food. I wish it wasn't so late, as I could do with a bowl right now. But I am comforted by the thought that I still have a few chard plants in my garden that have survived the frost, they would be perfect in a dal!

Fiona Beckett said...

Oo, yes - chard would be perfect - though leaves rather than stalks, I'm guessing?