Friday, 23 January 2015

When vegans come for dinner

I've been known to sledge vegans for no particular reason other than it is lots of fun. In all honesty, I’ve never knowingly cooked a meal for someone who deprives their body of animal products. If I was ever required to, and wanted them to enjoy it, this is what I would make. 
Dahl - looks like spew, tastes pretty good
Don’t get me wrong – I haven’t gone out of my way to research vegan food - I used to eat dahl a lot because it serves as a brilliant side dish to curry and I love curry. It hadn't even occurred to me that vegans could eat it until recently.

If I eat more than a few mouthfuls of lentils these days my colon transforms into a wind tunnel for the next 12 hours – whether that was the case before carb restriction, I can’t remember, so maybe I’m just more of a sensitive little flower these days.

Despite my aversion to wind-pain, it’s still pretty damn tasty so I still partake in very small amounts. There have never been any complaints apart from the lazy people who don’t like, and can’t be bothered picking out, the curry leaves.

So, while the handful of people who turn up on this blog are extremely unlikely to ever bother with this, it might be handy to keep up your sleeve in the event that a plant person turns up at your house out of the blue and, for reasons I can’t foresee right now, you need to make a good impression. Your spouse’s new vego boss, maybe. I dunno…use your imagination.

This is a big batch but you can divide up into portions and freeze if your new vegan friend keeps coming back. If you don't want them to come back, you should just steam some broccoli and serve.

1 kg split red lentils
about 2 cups water
2 tins coconut cream/milk (400ml each)
1-2 tsp turmeric
2 sticks cinnamon
8-10 pieces of whole dried red chilli
1-2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground coriander
2 red onions, diced
3 sprigs curry leaves (roughly 30 leaves)
8 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed (pestle and mortar, or just a quick buzz in a spice grinder)
4 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 medium tomatoes, chopped.
1-2 Tbs kecap manis.
oil (ghee or lard if you have a weird sense of humour)

1 -Wash lentils in plenty of water and drain – I use a colander and rinse a few times, until water is relatively clear. Into a large saucepan add the lentils, water, coconut milk, cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, paprika, dried chillies and cook over medium heat. Lower flame when it starts to boil and simmer while stirring until the lentils are cooked/soft (about 20-30mins)- add more water if necessary – I like it a bit like runny but lumpy mash potato - up to you. Stir through kecap manis and remove from heat. Do not be concerned if this mix has very little flavour – that is what 2 is for.
one and two
2 -While your lentils are simmering, heat the oil in a large fry pan. When almost smoking hot add the mustard seeds and wait until they start to pop. Then add the curry leaves Рthey will make a loud sizzling noise Рthis is normal. Immediately add the onions and saut̩ until well cooked (brown). Next add the garlic, then the tomatoes and cook through. Turn off heat and add the crushed cumin and salt. Pour this mixture over the cooked lentils and stir until uniform.
where most of the flavour comes from

one plus two equals dahl

I cook this amount and freeze in zip lock bags in batches. Pull a bag out whenever we’re having curry and throw it straight into a frypan with a bit of water over it. Keep turning and it’ll be ready in about 5-10minutes.

Some people get put off by the curry leaves, but pfft, whatever. They can always pick them out. Or they can bitch about them and get a slap in the face. Their choice.


  1. Big YES to cooking big amounts and freezing leftovers in smaller batches!

  2. It can be so handy to cook larger amounts ... and then freeze some, gives you extra time another day to enjoy some leisure time, an extra glass of wine maybe?

    Have a good weekend

    All the best Jan